South Norwood Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan

    • Client: Croydon Council
    • Date: 01 July 2022

Our team are delighted to have recently completed the review and appraisal of the South Norwood Conservation Area, as part of the South Norwood High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ). The project particularly focused on public engagement, which was a key output of the brief; we were delighted to create an enhanced engagement plan to ensure meaningful and continued communication with key stakeholders and the local community throughout this project. It was a great opportunity to meet the fantastic people who work hard to promote and protect South Norwood’s unique and special character.  

Place Services were recently commissioned to undertake the review and update of the South Norwood Conservation Area Appraisal, to support the aims of the High Street HAZ. The key aims were to:

  • Undertake the review and reappraisal of the Conservation Area boundary, and the Appraisal and Management Plan
  • Contribute to the wider aims of the HSHAZ’s engagement strategy
  • Promote the protection of the two historic high street within South Norwood (an unusual feature of the area)
  • Champion the historic and architectural significance of South Norwood
  • Ensure a legacy of the project by creating a bespoke heritage walk within the Conservation Area, to fit in with the existing style of heritage walks already found within the Borough.

The project kicked off in 2021 with baseline research to explore the special interest of the Conservation Area. Our team worked closely with the Regeneration team, local community, and key stakeholders from an early stage in the project. We met with local historians and attended the South Norwood Festival to hear from locals to what they felt contributed to the Conservation Area, and where the opportunities for enhancement were.

Our team then undertook research into the history of the area, to draw out the elements which make it unique, such as its association with the Victorian philanthropist William Stanley, its impressive Stanley Arts Centre (Grade II Listed), and its two high streets on both Portland Road and the High Street. Throughout this stage, our team worked closely with local historians and groups including the Croydon Archives. This ensured a wide range of sources were considered, with all datasets captured, and the final historic baseline was holistic and a true reflection of the wealth of local knowledge in South Norwood.

Our built heritage and historic landscape specialists undertook two site assessments to gain an understanding of the area at varied times. The site visit was crucial for the review of the boundary and to establish proposed boundary changes. Our team made recommendations for boundary alterations, informed by Historic England guidance, which were mapped using GIS. Our team delivered a presentation at this stage to key stakeholders and Members to present the proposed boundary alongside analysis behind the recommendations.

Following this, we produced the Appraisal which considered: architecture and built form; materials; relationships with open spaces; distinct character areas; key views; positive/neutral/negative contributors; and designated heritage assets. Many of these elements were plotted, created in GIS, and included within the final report.

Our team also produced a tailored Management Plan. The opportunities we identified were shared with the Council as part of the regular progress updates we provided, so that they were transparent throughout the project. We focused specifically on the management and improvement opportunities of shopfronts, due to the nature of the High Street HAZ, and the Management Plan included bespoke illustrations and guidance on key shopfront elements.

Throughout the six week public consultation period, our team delivered two online talks to the local community on the history of South Norwood and Conservation Areas, as well as launching the Heritage Walk with a guided walk, led by our team with the assistance of a local historian. A public consultation event was held in partnership with a local business on the High Street, and was well attended by members of the public, representatives of local history groups and national bodies, and local Councillors.

The final document was created using InDesign Adobe Software, which created a high quality, navigable and visual document.

It was a pleasure to work alongside the passionate team at Croydon, and we are happy to hear that the Appraisal and Management Plan was adopted in July 2022.