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Worrying Government proposals will put heritage at risk

02 November 2009

Responding to the Government's proposals on new national guidelines on heritage Planning Policy Statement 15: Planning for the Historic Environment, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation have strongly criticised the plans, saying they present a serious risk to the nation's historic buildings and places.

The RTPI President Martin Willey said:

"The biggest problem with this new guidance is that it assumes that heritage stands in the way of development and economic recovery, which is patently untrue. Historic buildings and places are an asset not a burden."

The Institutes believe that the proposed reforms do not address their original aim (which we support) to create a simpler, clearer and more accessible system for heritage protection – indeed they risk making things much worse. The RTPI says the major flaw of the proposed PPS is that it sees heritage as a constraint to development rather than recognising the positive role that heritage can play in creating jobs, growing the economy, and making better places.

Sean O'Reilly, Director, Institute of Historic Building Conservation said:

"The PPS relies too much on a narrow way of judging how important our heritage is to everyone. The way it proposes to judge significance marginalises our heritage to an academic judgement and ignores the contribution of the built environment to making better places for communities."

IHBC: Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation

The IHBC is the professional body for building conservation practitioners and historic environment experts working in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with connections to the Republic of Ireland. The Institute exists to establish, develop and maintain the highest standards of conservation practice, to support the effective protection and enhancement of the historic environment, and to promote heritage-led regeneration and access to the historic environment for all.

For further general information, visit the IHBC website at:

RTPI response to draft PPS15: Planning for the Historic Environment

The full response to this consultation can be found at Joint RTPI & IHBC Response to the draft PPS15: Planning for the Historic Environment