American Cemetery

Consent for new visitor centre and improved facilities at internationally important site.


The American Cemetery was formally dedicated in 1956 and is the only permanent American Second World War cemetery in Britain. The grounds are listed at Grade I on English Heritage’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and the buildings and structures are Grade II* listed buildings.

The Cemetery acts as a memorial to the British-based US combatants who fell in the Second World War and its evocative buildings and grounds were designed largely by American firms including the famous landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers. However more than 50 years on, it was felt that new facilities were needed to tell the story of the conflict to a younger generation.

The proposed development includes a new Interpretative Centre and Facilities Building with improvements to parking areas and bus drop-off facilities.

Before advising on the siting of the proposed new building we gained a clear understanding of the original intention of the landscape architects and how the sculptural buildings and features were meant to be interpreted. This led us to recommend that the new building be located in woodland adjacent to the main entrance, but away from the ‘cone of view’ from the Chapel, looking back towards the flagpole.

As this placed the new building in ancient woodland and with the design team, Beacon worked with the design team to justify the recommendation and mitigate the risks through building design and compensatory measures, including the creation of new wildlife habitats and the transplanting of hundreds of wildflower bulbs.

Beacon led the negotiations with English Heritage which were vital in determining success of the proposals in the early stages and with South Cambridgeshire District Council where the conservation and tree / ecology issues required a fine balance. We also assisted in the liaison with the US Commission of Fine Arts who advised the American Battle Monuments Commission.

We prepared the heritage and planning statements, co-wrote the Design and Access Statement together with the architects and submitted the applications.


Works commenced on site in 2013 and the facilities opened in 2014. The project was one of six projects shortlisted for the RTPI East of England Award in 2015.

ClientAmerican Battle Monuments Commission
Services providedAdvice   Application  
BP teamJon Burgess  
ArchitectArchitect Bland Brown and Cole. Landscape architects - Robert Myers Associates
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