As a quaintly named “heritage professional” dealing with “heritage assets” and their management, I can understand Simon Tolson’s frustration with the lack of standard procedure in dealing with historic buildings (5 February, page 47)
However, although there is a wide variety of people responsible for decision making, with varied training and understanding of building design, there is also a wide variety of buildings to deal with. However, there are ways and means of finding an easier route through the conservation and preservation minefield.
The first consideration should be to get a good baseline study. This can be used to agree the basic dos and don’ts with the council decision-maker. Where the council’s representative is well informed, it will act as a reference document and a basis for discussion. Where the adviser is less up to speed with heritage matters, it provides a summary of what is and isn’t important.
English Heritage and many local authority heritage professionals understand the need to re-use historic buildings to ensure their long-term preservation. There is no reason why, with good advice, a listed building cannot be brought into the modern world. But if you consider making an application for the refurbishment or redevelopment of a historic building, your first thought should be: “I need professional help”!
Nansi Rosenberg, Prospect Archaeology
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