A recent English Heritage report has highlighted the continuation of a slump in heritage and historic environmental specialists that has escalated since 2006. There has been a concerning decrease of almost 10% in archaeological specialists who have the expertise to advise local authorities, whilst the number of conservation specialists has also fallen by 2.4%. With Britain facing a housing crisis and the Government pursuing the creation of new Garden Cities, this news comes at a time when such expertise is needed the most.
City & Country, multi-award winning heritage developers with over 50 years of experience, continue to be at the forefront of sustainable, sympathetic and groundbreaking heritage restoration projects throughout the UK. In Autumn 2014 two new developments will be launching (the restoration and conversion of the former Bristol General Hospital and now known as The General, and the transformation of the redundant King Edward VII Hospital, which is soon to be launched as King Edward VII Estate; being the most significant development to have gained planning permission within the South Downs National Park to date), greatly enhancing City & Country’s existing portfolio.
For the company, there is nothing worse than seeing a local landmark crumble away, and nothing better than seeing it restored to its former glory and the pride that it gives to an area.
Helen Moore, Managing Director City & Country comments: “We are of course saddened to read these latest findings from English Heritage. It is a great disappointment that as a country we are not doing more to restore, sustain and extend the lives of so many genuinely historic and significant buildings. Preserving a local piece of cultural, and often social, history for future generations is a real benefit, not just in terms of adding to the housing supply, but the wider regenerative benefits to the community as a whole.”
Although heritage buildings are more challenging, when treated correctly they are far more rewarding and satisfying than any other project. Simon Vernon-Harcourt, Design & Planning Director, comments: “Typically restoration properties will be bigger with larger rooms, taller ceilings and better views as well as fascinating historic details, joinery and staircases that have been crafted using ancient and sometimes forgotten craftsmanship skills. The word ‘unique’ is overused these days, but a conversion of a piece of cultural heritage really will give someone an unforgettable place to live.”
A possible contributing factor to the current decline in expertise has been the laborious and complex issue of planning. Heritage projects require consultation with English Heritage, Natural England, national and local interest groups such as the Victorian Society as well as local History groups, who all have a view that needs to be considered and responded to. Juxtaposed with the current government’s focused exploration of potential garden cities, it is easy to see why there is a downward trend in heritage specialism.
Simon continues: “You need to have a genuine love and interest in heritage projects and a commitment to really understand what you have and how it can be looked after and enhanced. There are many more hurdles to be jumped, but the reward of providing a future for our nation’s heritage assets, as well as creating unique homes makes it worth the very significant effort required.”
For more information visit www.cityandcountry.co.uk
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