“We are delighted that we can now begin to move forward with the practical agenda for heritage protection” said the Director of the Historic Towns Forum (HTF) Chris Winter.
The Forum has worked for many years to promote the historic environment as an asset not an obstacle, a message that is clear in John Healy’s launch statement. New buildings can sit very comfortably with those from every era, as long as the emphasis is been on high quality design and an appreciation of the local context and long term needs of the community. A significant body of research now supports the role of the historic environment in economic vitality, regeneration, tourism and ‘quality of life’. The places in which we live and work - the streets, parks and waterways, as well as the buildings – are important to us and should be cared for appropriately.
Historic towns, by their very longevity and history of adapting and evolving over the centuries, can be exemplars of sustainability and have a great deal to teach us whilst we learn to adapt to climate change and to adopt more sustainable practices
More recently HTF has also been actively involved with the various fora set up by Government departments to develop the PPS as well as its own projects to support practitioners (for example the survey and analysis on the use of Article 4 Directions with RPS).
The commitment of Government indicated in the document to support the management and protection of heritage is very welcome, and we will be studying the document and its ‘sister’ guidance document from English Heritage, in detail before commenting fully. We will also be looking for indications of support for Councils who are tasked to deliver the activities necessary to implement this policy and working with English Heritage and others in the sector to offer support to practitioners.