Archway Planning Applications

Experience shows that areas where residents take an interest are better cared for by the authorities than those where people don’t. Here in Archway it can certainly appear that decision makers operate a double standard, with changes permitted which would never be tolerated around Upper Street.


Comments from the public can turn this around.


What It’s Useful to Comment On

Where there is an impact on public appearance or use. That can include:

- loss of retail use

- new building

- implementing conservation area standards

- licensing applications

How to Check an Application

If you have either the planning application number or the address you can view all applications at


Worth looking at are not just the plans and elevations but also the application form itself, where you can often find strange claims, plus the design statement if there is one, which often throws up inconsistencies, or in the case of some commercial applications even outright fibs.


Elevations should often be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly when it comes to comparative heights. Glowing images at dusk and computer generated pictures are just two of the standard tricks to make new buildings look more attractive than they would in reality. When assessing whether the design is good a useful trick is to consider what it would look like at 11am on a wet morning.  


Relevant Policies

Islington has policies on retail, roads, conservation areas, building heights, use classes (retail, restaurant etc), residential, trees, and greenspace, and more. The trick to commenting is to find the right policies to quote.


The Islington Core Strategy

This is in the process of being updated but the broad areas are similar. k/CS_adoption/Core_Strategy_Adopted_February_2011.pdf

In particular sections

2.2 Archway

3.1 Heritage and urban design

3.2 Sustainability

3.3 Housing

3.4 Employment

3.5 Retail and services

3.6 Open space, play and sport

4.1 Strategic infrastructure

4.2 Social and community infrastructure


The Archway SDP y/adopted_archway_development_framework_spd_09-2007.pdf

In particular the sections

Background point ii

1. The Vision (including key objectives)


Islington Urban Design Guide

This has been updated making it less effective but should still be referenced in all new build applications. Worth a look for good examples all around us of what does and doesn’t work in urban design - the key point being that it’s not about the decorative finish, it’s all about scale. A new building can be completely different from its neighbours but still look good as long as it’s in proportion to what’s next door. Unfortunately most applicants, even architects, don’t seem to understand this key point. pol_supplement/adopted_spd/urbandesignguide.asp

National Policy

This is in the process of moving to a new system but currently still relevant are:

PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development

PPS3: Housing

PPS 5 Planning for the Historic Environment

PPS6: Planning for Town Centres

PPS12: Local Development Frameworks

PPG13: Transport

PPG17: Sport & Recreation

PPS22: Renewable Energy

PPS23: Planning and Pollution Control

For updates see olicy/planningpolicystatements/


Conservation Areas

Much of Archway is a conservation area - all of Junction Road, all of the buildings in the middle of the Archway gyratory roads, streets off Junction Road such as St John’s Grove and more, Highgate Hill ,and all of Whitehall Park.  


Buildings in a conservation area must not be demolished without specific, conservation area permission, and this requires an appropriate scheme of redevelopment.


Whether repairing or rebuilding, the work must always preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.


Policy you can quote includes PPS5 (see above) ,Islington Core Strategy 2011 CS9 2011, plus Islington Conservation Area Design Guidelines 2002. 
Once demolished, no reinstatement is likely to restore the character of the original, . The alternative is to seek a stunning and considered contemporary design to take its place. The problem is that because modern design requires genuine creativity, in a way which traditional build doesn’t, it’s much harder to do right. It usually costs money and it’s much less likely from those want to rebuild in conservation areas.  


Demolition without permission can mean a continuing fine of up to £200 per day that any enforcement requirement is not fulfilled.


How to Comment on an Application

Whether you, the councillors and officers like an application is not relevant. What is important is whether it complies with policy. This means that if you want to object to an application you have to make points which show that the application is: 

1. Harmful 

2. Contrary to policy (using the policies above)

3. If relevant that there are also other material considerations.

Material considerations can include for example the advice in the Islington Design Guide.

Then email before the deadline (given on the Islington planning portal).

Copying the officer assigned to the case.

Copying also the local councillors. They may not sit on the planning committee but if not their colleagues will do.

For more general design pointers see the page on Design Issues at