IHBC update: Conservation Areas 50th anniversary Parliamentary Debate – IHBC reports on England’s 35.8% collapse in conservation services and offers ‘5-point plan’ for survival

Houses of Parliament courtesy of UK GovThe IHBC has warmly welcomed the Parliamentary Debate on the 50th anniversary of Conservation Areas, supported by Robert Jenrick MP, scheduled for 26 January and inspired by Civic Voice’s ‘Big Conservation Conversation’, with the IHBC submitting data on the decade-long, 35%+ decline in England’s conservation services as well as its own ‘5-point plan’ for their survival.

parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

IHBC Vice Chair Kathy Davies said: ‘The IHBC is delighted that local conservation services and officers will be recognised at Parliamentary levels as the critical thread in the care and management of our celebrated Conservation Area legacy.  Spurred on by the 50th anniversary of the legislation that brought us Conservation Areas, we can again warmly welcome how Civic Voice’s ‘Big Conservation Conversation’ has been able to help generate this high level of debate’.

‘To support informed debate by our Members of Parliament, we have summarised and submitted recent data and trends to our friends in Civic Voice.’

‘With more than 6% of Conservation Areas at risk, and a decade-long collapse of more than 35% in the local authority specialists that are responsible for managing them, we hope our politicians can appreciate the scale of the problems faced by this conservation legacy in its anniversary year!’

‘We have also updated our ‘5-Point Plan’ for cost-effective care of Conservation Areas, calling for:

  1. Consolidated management of residential alterations so that they are universal, comprehensible to owners, and administratively simple
  2. All Conservation Areas to have Appraisals and Management Plans in place, in line with the ‘good practice’ standard supported by Historic England
  3. Credible requirements for all Local Authorities to have access to – and be obliged to weigh carefully – expert heritage advice
  4. Realistic resourcing for conservation services in Local Authorities so they can carry out both their statutory functions and meet the demands made on them by local communities
  5. Arrangements and protocols that will reduce the damage that non-conservation organisations can do to Conservation Areas through poorly specified works and materials

Ian Harvey, Director of Civic Voice said: ‘On Thursday 26th January, Robert Jenrick MP will be holding a debate in parliament on 50 years of conservation areas. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Civic Societies and Civic Voice need your help to ensure all MPs are aware of this.’

‘In 1967, communities were telling Lord Duncan Sandys that there was a problem. The country was facing a new planning regime, the historic environment was under threat and local government under pressure. Lord Duncan Sandys answered the call from communities by sponsoring a bill that turned out to be the Civic Amenities Act. We should all be thankful to him for this.’

‘50 years on communities are again telling us there is an issue. 75% of civic societies have told us that they are responding to more heritage related planning applications than they were 12 months ago. They are telling us that the historic environment is under threat.  How are we going to answer that call?’

‘Civic Voice is responding to this call with the Big Conservation Conversation and need your help.’

For background see the NewsBlogs

More details can be found on the UK Parliament calendar and watch the debate online from 9.30 a.m. on January 26.

Find out more about Civic Voice, the ‘Big Conservation Conversation’, celebrating 50 years of conservation areas, and sign up to the ‘Big Conservation Conversation’.

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