IHBC responds to conservation critique
In April 2018, IHBC Chair James Caird wrote to the local paper that featured ‘joke’ comments from a Coventry City councillor linked to the sudden departure of the local conservation officer and recent listings by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that, in the councillor’s opinion, threaten his promotion of the redevelopment in the city’s Upper Precinct area.
The Coventry Observer wrote:
‘… Coun O’Boyle, Labour cabinet member for jobs and regeneration … insists developer Shearer Property Group’s scheme would be in keeping with Upper Precinct’s pioneering and much-celebrated post-war character…’
In response, IHBC's James Caird wrote:
'The IHBC – the UK’s professional body for built and historic environment conservation specialists – is surely not alone in regretting the superficial way in which the heritage issues in Coventry City centre are being debated by some city councillors. Heritage is a very important component of our culture the value of which is widely recognised, not least by its inclusion as a major feature of our planning law. This determines in a structured way how heritage buildings and places are chosen for protection and conservation and how subsequent decisions are made.
'Despite heritage places tending to be attractive the public, some developers unfortunately regard heritage as a problem rather than an asset to be capitalised on. Sometimes this is because they lack the skills needed to handle heritage issues in a considered manner. It is understandable that elected members are sensitive to threats of investment and job losses, but the proper reaction to situations like this is for developers and local authority conservation staff to work together to resolve the issues.
'In fact, many of the issues raised by Councillor O’Boyle could be cost-effectively dealt with through a Listed Building Consent Order, issued by the local authority, granting listed building consent for shop-fitting and other regular alterations that would otherwise need listed building consent each time.
'Coventry lost a great deal of its heritage in the 1940s and has been keen, until now, to build new culture from the old. This has been recognised by its being named City of Culture for 2021. The IHBC hopes the City will continue to honour its cultural obligations and commitments.'
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
A mapping tool that provides contractors and their suppliers with a central database of local Materials Exchange Platform (MEP) projects to help cut waste by finding a home for unused materials has been launched.
An air raid shelter, a pillbox cleverly disguised as a roofless cottage, a rare Chain Home radar defence tower, and a war memorial have been granted protection.
A planning application has been submitted by Derby City Council to knock down the Assembly Rooms – which has played host to the likes of Elton John, Iron Maiden, Take That, etc.
Specifically tailored for conservation projects, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched two brand new professional services contracts.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has made a dramatic intervention into the zip wire row which has divided people, politicians and businesses in the city.
The roof of the Elizabeth Tower (also known as Big Ben) is slowly becoming visible again from 28 September 2020, as part of the scaffolding is removed.
The IHBC lists quality providers of education and learning in the historic built environment, and emails a monthly recap of their upcoming events.
On Læsø, houses are thatched with thick, heavy bundles of silvery seaweed that have the potential to be a contemporary building material around the world.
For the first time in its history, England’s largest festival of heritage and culture will feature online events as well as in-person activities. Heritage Open Days (HODs) returns in September, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) shows the scale of the ‘missed opportunity’ if we continue to separate heritage policymaking and economic policymaking.