Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society

Leaden Hall Planning Application

Article in The Georgian
Leaden Hall planning application remains live with the decision date now put back to 27th June. More details of the planning application and the Society’s response can be viewed on the Planning Issues pages of this website.
The planning application – and the very poor state of this very important building – has generated a high level of comments on Wiltshire Council’s planning portal.  National bodies and amenity societies, including the Georgian Group have submitted detailed responses. Additionally, the Georgian Group has included a substantial article about Leaden Hall in the Casework section of the summer edition of its magazine, The Georgian, thus giving the issues raised by the application national prominence.

Read a copy of the article here

Your membership of the Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society demonstrates your commitment to the protection of the architecture and landscape of the Close. The Society shares many of the aims of the Georgian Group, though its activities are focussed on the protection of buildings of the Georgian period.   Details of the Georgian Group can be found by following this link:

If you would like to join the Georgian Group, follow this link:


The Society has commissioned London based structural engineers Aleur Associates, for a first assessment of the structural implications of drawings submitted with the planning applications. Their report is so alarming that the Society has lodged a supplementary objection.
Read the text of the supplementary objection here

Read the text of the engineering report here

In view of the importance of the issues at stake the Society has also engaged in dialog with national bodies, notably Heritage England (HE) and The Georgian Group. We greatly appreciate their intervention. The following are just three quotes from the HE submission (as published on the WC Planning Portal)

HE: “…The setting of Leaden Hall is a unique and layered composition of different spaces and views. It includes its immediate grounds and gardens, with the sequence of enclosed and intimate spaces contained between the boundary and screen walls, the more open and verdant landscape of the Close to the front, and the long views towards and from the river and water meadows to the rear. This setting, also captured by Constable in a series of paintings, greatly contributes to the overall significance of the Hall. …”

HE: “…Overall, it is clear that the scheme does carry a level of harm on the significance that the Hall derives from its fabric, form and setting. We consider the harm to be less than substantial and, in some instances, capable of being avoided or minimised further….”

HE: “…However, the existence of an alternative and endorsed scheme for the location of some of the above facilities in the form of the 2016 Masterplan, only recently brought to our attention, poses the question of whether harm here can be fully justified. …”
Read the complete text of the HE submission…

The Georgian Group: “As a Grade I listed building, Leaden Hall is a designated heritage asset of the highest significance with high historic value – not least for the association with Constable.
The building forms part of a grouping of buildings in the Cathedral Close of very high
Read the complete text of The Georgian Group submission…

Read the full text of the submitted SCCPS objection here…

The Society has engaged specialist advisor Alan Baxter Associates (ABA) to comment on the two Leadenhall planning applications. As you can read from their report, as well as from the quotes above, the trustees are well justified to object and to require substantial changes to Chapter’s application.

Read the full text of the submitted ABA report here…


Background Summary

Chapter have recently submitted a planning application for the conversion of Leaden Hall to provide office accommodation for their staff.

This will be the most important planning application to arise in The Close over the last ten years covering a Grade I listed building vacant and decaying for eight years.

The Trustees are engaged in reviewing the considerable quantity of documentation and have retained a number of professional advisors including Alan Baxter Associates to support our response to the application.

Responses are required before the current deadline of the 29th February. You can submit your personal response before the deadline to Wiltshire Planning Portal.

You can access the application by clicking this link

Whilst we are delighted to see that work is being proposed to protect and restore this most significant Grade 1 listed building we believe that a considerable number of elements of the current planning application need to be modified.


Special areas of concern

Flood Risk Assessment
The Planning application includes a desk-based analysis of flood risk assessment, which seems divorced from reality on the ground.
Climate change will only exacerbate this problem.

Proposed Archive building out of Scale and Impact
This drawing shows the South and East elevations of the proposed Archive building. We believe that the building is too large for the site and will seriously impair the streetscape as seen looking west from Marsh Close.
There is a very considerable impact on views from the South in particular those of residents living at and alongside the South Canonry.

Heritage Assessment.
This is a site of national and international significance not least because of its connection with John Constable’s paintings.
The SCCPS believes that special weight and attention must be given to the entirety of the landscape and gardens and the setting including the frontage and especially the historic interest and significance of the Constable Views.
We believe that the current  proposals would significantly impair the views, character and visual appreciation of the east elevation of Leaden Hall.

Assessment of Significance Section 5
The Society is concerned that the application is not being considered in the overall context of the whole of The Close and most importantly Marsh Close.
Historic England classify the entire conservation area as Grade 1 and Marsh Close as a unique area of semi-rural peace and tranquillity.
“The setting of Leaden Hall in the Salisbury Cathedral Close is of particularly high value in terms of the way the building is experienced and appreciated”.

Need for a comprehensive Master Plan to avoid piecemeal development within the Conservation Area.
Plans for Leaden Hall should be considered in the wider context of the anticipated South Side Development to ensure that efforts are not duplicated, or funds wasted.
We are encouraged that the Cathedral Fabric Commission would appear to support this approach:

“It is important that the development of the Cathedral Close is considered as a whole rather than considering each building individually.

Read the full text of the SCCPS briefing here…

Read the full text of the SCCPS objection to the Planning Application here…