English Heritage’s consultation document on changes to the system for looking after the historic environment has drawn criticism from the Institute of Leisure & Amenity Management.
Under government proposals in the consultation document, Protecting Our Historic Environment: Making the System Work Better, English Heritage would be given sole responsibility for maintaining a single list of historic sites and buildings. ILAM says such a move would be a “positive step in the fight to protect parks and open spaces of historic importance”.
However, ILAM says the consultation seems to suggest a tendency to exclude historic parks and landscapes — “a continuation of a failing of the listing process to which ILAM has drawn attention over many years”.
ILAM chief executive Andy Worthington said: “Owners can alter designed landscapes beyond recognition as long as they do not demolish buildings within them.
“There is also no discussion of the terms of reference of English Heritage. Its welcome progression towards protecting an historic environment, not simply historic buildings and monuments, is now at odds with the narrow duties in Section 33 of the 1983 Heritage Act for the Historic Buildings & Monuments Commission for England.
“The consultation paper appears to ignore the value of protection systems in the greater economy, particularly tourism.
“In this context, it is very regrettable that Birkenhead Park, the world’s first municipal park and the inspiration for Central Park, New York, has still not been nominated by the Government for such status, as proposed by ILAM,” he said.
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