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Plans announced to protect heritage homes in England

The Secretary of State for Housing has launched what is described as England’s most ambitious heritage preservation campaign for 40 years.

Under the plans from Robert Jenrick local people will be empowered to nominate heritage buildings which are important to them and reflect their local area and identity, supported by a team of heritage expert.

The new campaign will challenge every single local authority across England to draw up lists of buildings of significant historical and cultural value to an area, ensuring important local monuments are no longer left neglected and unloved.

Some £700,000 in funding will be available to help 10 English counties identify areas which need protecting and to support this, Historic England will launch a national campaign on local identity getting the country talking about what defines our heritage.

Jenrick is taking the direct step of contacting every parish council in England to make sure they are conserving the buildings which have played a remarkable role in their local history and need our support.

Whilst this is already happening in trailblazing local areas such as Lee-on-the-Solent, which has overseen the redevelopment of a Second World War Naval site into modern housing, today’s news will mean all councils will have to follow their example and protect their historic buildings.

In addition, a local heritage champion will be appointed to spearhead the campaign and encourage councils to increase local listings.

Building on September’s announcement of £95 million to boost the economic potential of 69 High Street Heritage Action Zones, the Government will also work with Historic England to identify important buildings in these zones to be nationally listed.

‘I’ve launched the most ambitious heritage preservation campaign for decades.
This will empower local people to protect thousands of historic buildings and preserve them for future generations. Getting more buildings locally listed isn’t just about keeping a building intact, it keeps a community’s identity thriving,’ said Jenrick.

‘Protecting the historic environment must be a key function of the planning system. All local planning authorities must play a far more proactive role in supporting local communities and heritage groups to identify and to protect more historic buildings,’ he added.

He pointed out that this will go hand in hand with Government plans to protect the planet. ‘Today, there is more recognition than ever that we must be building to last. Research shows that the construction, demolition and excavation of old homes generates around three fifths of total UK non-hazardous waste every year, which is a staggering figure,’ he explained.

‘For the country to cut its carbon footprint, drive sustainability and meet our net-zero targets, all of us, in industry and in Government, have a responsibility to promote the re-use of existing buildings.

‘The ill-fated programme of demolition and destruction pursued by Governments of the past resulted in thousands of well-built, pre-1919 terrace houses, for example, being needlessly destroyed. In great cities like Liverpool, the Housing Market Renewal Initiative resulted in property prices sharply increasing while putting important historic buildings, like the birthplace of Ringo Starr, under threat,’ he said.

‘Today, developers are rediscovering the value in the renovation and refurbishment of Victorian terraces. Like the Welsh Streets of Liverpool, streets that were under serious and needless threat of being knocked down. These are now in a new wave of regeneration and renewal. We also need to be ambitious, creative and imaginative in repurposing commercial and public buildings,’ he added.