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At Risk

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At Risk

Postby Daniel Cossins » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:26 am

Are our historic areas in danger?

Alan Crosby is alarmed at a new English Heritage report which states that many of our most precious historic assets are under threat from neglect and development.

Should we do more to protect the our rich architecural heritage?

Or should we accept the destruction historic buildings as an inevitable part of 'progress'?

Click [link=]here[/link] to read the blog and have your say below
Daniel Cossins
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RE: At Risk

Postby ksouthall » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:46 pm

I agree with Alan that councils should do more to protect conservation areas. St Albans is a lovely old market town. It would be terrible if the centre of it was ruined by development. The same goes for the other areas, although I have not visited many of them so cannot comment on what they are like.

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RE: At Risk

Postby Guy » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:00 am

Whilst agreeing with the sentiment life often gets in the way.
Those precious historic assets would not exist if some developer in the past had not put his/her plans into operation. The building of those very “historic assets” destroyed the existing landscape and may even at the time they were built been considered monstrosities. Life is always a compromise and English Heritage must realise that controlled development must be allowed to carry on in even the most valued of sites. They would not exist today if this was not the case and they certainly will not exist in the future unless the people who own them are allowed to enjoy today’s comforts. If the choice is between satellite dishes or a building left to rot then I am afraid satellite dishes would get my vote. People will not purchase and maintain historic assets if the controls are too restrictive. With sensible limited development then both the owner and the public can benefit from precious historic assets. Cheers Guy
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RE: At Risk

Postby paulberyl » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:43 am

[font=calibri][size=3]I have to agree with Guy that the whole of life is a question of balance. What do you do with a historic building that no longer has any practical use? Unless a use can be found for it (which can include either sympathetic conversion to modern use or as a paying historic attraction) the building is likely to become derelict and vandalised and a subsequent eyesore and dangerous. There have been some superb modernizations of historic buildings such as the conversion of old industrial mills to flats, churches into private houses, stately homes into hotels and one of the best conversions I ever saw of a church into a modern office complex (the whole of the inside of the church was gutted with the outer walls temporarily supported and a modern building built inside the church with the original church walls then tied into the new building’s walls). A couple of famous examples are the Tate Modern in London, located in a former power station and Leamington Spa Library, located in what was once a swimming pool in the Royal Pump Rooms. I know to purists this might seem like sacrilege but if it enables the building to be kept and serve a useful purpose I believe that this is as good a way of any of retaining our heritage. [/size][/font][font=calibri][size=3][/size][/font]

[size=3][font=calibri]We can all play our part by being members of English Heritage and/or The National Trust or at least visiting their premises as this helps them preserve buildings for future generations. Neither must we forget the work of the likes of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum and Avoncroft who help preserve historic buildings that are in danger of demolition.[/font][/size]
[size=3][font=calibri] [/font][/size]
[font=calibri][size=3]The other question to be asked is what buildings do you preserve? There are plans to build a new Birmingham library but there has been considerable debate about the old library as to whether it should be pulled down or preserved. Some people view the old library as an ugly concrete block that should be pulled down other view it as a fine example of brutalist architecture which should be preserved. You pay your money ……. I do believe that if we get down to a single example of a particular type of building (for example early 20th century airship hangers, of which I believe there are only one or two examples left) then I do believe every attempt should be made to save them – but regrettably we always come down to the question of available funds. Whether we like it or not there are not unlimited funds that can preserve every building we would like.[/size][/font]

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