Innovation and Conservation: a one-day conference

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A One-Day Conference

held on Saturday 10 June 2017

at Prendergast Hilly Fields College, London SE4


Brockley Conservation Area was designated in 1974, under the ‘Civic Amenities Act 1967’ which first made provision for such areas. The Brockley Society (which was inaugurated in the same year) proudly celebrated the Act’s 50th anniversary with this one-day conference.

Civic Amenities Act 1967The event was free, aimed at local residents, and sought to increase awareness and understanding of how to protect and enhance our neighbourhoods through good urban design. This is achieved by both protecting what we already have and, where opportunities arise, creating innovative new solutions and designs.

For over 40 years the Brockley Society has lobbied and advocated for sympathetic development within both this Conservation Area and the surrounding neighbourhoods. It has striven, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to preserve the unique characteristics of our special corner of South London; you can find out more about this work on the ‘Advantages and Responsibilities‘ pages of this website.

Our Planning Committee liaises with Lewisham Council – who understand the importance of this process (see details of the ‘Brockley Conservation Area Character Appraisal’ at the foot of this page). We also welcome the feedback and involvement of local residents and businesses in helping us amicably achieve these aims.

We would like to say a huge thank you to the speakers themselves, the event organisers, and our own volunteers for giving up their time on a sunny summer Saturday to make this unique event possible. 

We sincerely hope this documentation will provide a lasting resource that both informs and stimulates debate about an often-overlooked but nontheless important element of our urban lives.

Conference Programme

The full schedule for the day can be viewed here. Our aims were to consider a broad range of themes relating to sympathetic urban design, including:

  • conservation areas today
  • exemplar schemes and projects
  • feasibility and design potential, and how to make them happen
  • the legacy of conservation

We heard three different perspectives on the broader issues involved in planning and realising successful and attractive places to live. We also heard about nine fascinating projects and case studies right here in SE4.

You can listen to audio recordings of all the presentations below; most are accompanied by the presentation slides.

Keynote Presentations


IaC_2017 Laura Sandys photoLaura Sandys: “Why The Civic Movement Is So Important” 

Laura is the daughter of politician Duncan Sandys who introduced the Civic Amenities Act in 1967, an ex-MP herself, and is currently Vice President of Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement in England which aims to promote civic pride and make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive.

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (dur. 43m 29s) including audience Q&A:

IaC_2017 Duncan MacCallum photoDuncan McCallum: “The Present State Of Conservation Areas”

Duncan is Policy Director at Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment. It champions and protects historic places, helping people understand, value and care for them.

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (dur. 1h 6m) including audience Q&A:

IaC_2017 Nicholas Boys-Smith photoNicholas Boys-Smith: “How to make streets beautiful and popular: could Lewisham Way be a British boulevard?”

Nicholas is founding director of Create Streets, whose goal is to make it easier to develop high density, beautiful, street-based economically and socially successful developments with strong local support and which residents will love for generations.

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (dur. 48m 22s) including audience Q&A:


Local Projects and Case Studies

Malcolm Bacchus: “Lewisham Council Planning process explained”

Presentation PDF here

Supplementary PDF here

Audio recording (25m 35s):

Rhys Cannon (of Gruff Architects): “47 Breakspears Road”

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (22m 34s):

Paul Russell (of Russell Associates): “Zoom Nursery, 289 Lewisham Way”

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (15m 40s):

Charles Coull (of CSC.A): “4 Ashby Mews”  

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (16m 04s):

Murray Groves and Adriana Natcheva (of Groves Natcheva Architects). “What is good Architecture? – the case of Cedar Mews”  

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (17m 13s):

Jon Broome: Self-build specialist (RUSS; work with Walter Segal; Hilly Fields Café)

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (17m 11s):

Zean Mair-MacFarlane (Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust alumnus; student at Lincoln University; part-time employee at Shared Architecture) 

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (14m 18s):

Doug Evans (of Thomas Ford & Partners): Recent projects

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (13m 17s):

Tristan Wigfall (of alma-nac) “From Trial to Tribute at 10 Tressillian Crescent” 

Presentation PDF here

Audio recording (11m 23s):

Photo Gallery

Brockley Conservation Area ‘Character Appraisal’

In 2005, Lewisham Council produced a ‘Character Appraisal’ of the Brockley Conservation Area. This thorough and well-produced document assesses both the history and built environment of the area, and provides a clear rationale for making efforts to preserve the character of the area.

You can access (and download) these on the Lewisham Council website:

In 2007 a ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ was also published, which summarised the requirements of any structural property redevelopment within the area.

These documents have been invaluable in guiding our Planning Committee in its decision-making.