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Conservation is Not a Luxury, Says POS

Date: 28/2/2014

Building conservation staff have been especially hard-hit in local authortiyy budget cuts, according to a recent survey by English Heritage and the IHBC.

Vincent Haines, the Society's Urban Design Topic Forum Convenor, told Planning magazine "conservation has alas been seen as a luxury, creating a tempation for councils to shed specialist staff."

Vincent_Haines.jpgVincent Haines, the POS key adviser on Urban Design

"Whilst there are excellelnt examples of joint working practice amongst authorities to deliver specilist advice the number of dedicated qualified conservation staff is dwindling all too fast" commented John Silvester, Society Spokesperson.

John Silvester, POS Spokesperson JDS 280810.jpg

POS has suggested:

  • The resulting cuts in Government. funding to LPAs has resulted in greater pressure on staff time, whether RTPI planners, or specialist Conservation Officers
  • This can result in services to 'customers' effectively being reduced, with only the more affluent property owners/ developers being left able to pay for staff time, or compensate via 'buying-in' private practice expertise
  • A re-think may be timely, to allow LPAs to charge for services imposed (rendered) to allow Councils to continue the same 'service-levels' residents and businesses expect, or need (for example, where there a 'statutory duty' to deal with Listed Building Consents)

Additional resources could also be released if the requirement to advertise LBC applications is removed, currently Wiltshire Council spend £150,000 pa on press notices - this could pay for three conservation staff.

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