REP's Henry Russell helps to avert a "major risk to the protection of the country’s heritage"
20 April 2016
Major risk to the protection of the country’s heritage averted
Thanks to the efforts and expertise of a Real Estate & Planning academic, Henry Russell, and fellow members of The Heritage Alliance, the government has withdrawn the proposed Bill Wiggins Amendment to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Buildings have been listed for their architectural and historic interest since the current system began in the late 1940s, and it has generally worked well. But when Bill Wiggins MP, proposed an amendment which would have had the potential to seriously compromise the protection of historic buildings in England, the Heritage Alliance stepped in. They realised the proposal would have major implications for the process of listing buildings, resulting in the reduction of the protection of our heritage.
Henry Russell, Programme Leader of our MSc Conservation of the Historic Environment, and colleagues of The Heritage Alliance’s Spatial Planning Advisory Group, wrote to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). The Group commented that the amendment could seriously compromise the protection of historic buildings in England and argued that the existing criteria for listing should be kept in the current form.
The communication to the DCMS went on to say that the matters which Mr Wiggin raised were best resolved at the stage where an application for listed building consent is made, to ensure that environmental improvements, health and safety works etc. are carried out to appropriate standards. It also suggested that the Historic England technical policy and guidance should be reviewed and improved to help people applying for listed building consent to better understand the process and application.
This approach has been agreed and is now being taken forward by the DCMS, and a major risk to the protection of the country’s heritage has been averted.