Call to join up heritage site policy

Call to join up heritage site policy

There is too much overlap and too little openness in the protection of historic gardens and other conservation areas, a government minister has claimed. Heritage minister Andrew McIntosh, speaking at the launch of Protecting Our Historic Environment: Making the System Work Better, said: “This country has an unrivalled heritage of listed buildings, monuments, parks, gardens, conservation areas and other sites. “Although the system is good, it needs improvement. There is too much overlap between different systems, unnecessary complexity and lack of openness.” But that could all change. The document suggests English Heritage should take over responsibility for maintaining records of the UK’s 500,000 listed historic sites The paper suggests opening up the process requiring owners, councils, amenity societies and the public to be informed and consulted when a proposal for listing is made and providing new rights of appeal. English Heritage head of designation Peter Beacham said the changes were good news for historic gardens. “Protection for gardens at the moment means the existence of a garden or park on the register is only a ‘material consideration’ for a local planning authority. “In the future, many gardens will have one line drawn around the building and garden. Then one management agreement deals with everything within the line. “It’s great news for gardens. It doesn’t impose regulation but does knit gardens together with buildings. It’s joined-up stuff,” he said. The public is invited to comment by 31 October and seminars will run during the autumn to discuss the ideas in the consultation paper, which can be accessed at www. culture.gov.uk

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