Over 40 people were at Turner Contemporary on Tuesday (17th March) to discuss the role of heritage in regeneration, promotion of tourism and preparation of local heritage lists. The meeting was a follow-up to our own workshop in November.
James Kennell of Greenwich University provoked a lot of discussion with his review of different approaches to “regeneration”, giving examples throughout the UK and abroad, and of how successive governments have approached regeneration issues. He described some key factors needed to attract tourists to an area and increase their contribution to the local economy. He emphasised that it is not enough to just have heritage assets; they need to be presented in the right way.
Graham Horner, of our own Historic Buildings Committee, explained why local lists will help planning authorities, developers and the community understand better what buildings and places are valued in their area. He gave examples of cases where demolitions might not have happened and arguments at the stage where planning applications have already been submitted could have been avoided if the relevant buildings had previously been researched in a local listing process.
Representatives of the Sevenoaks http://purchasepropecia.net Society brought the description of their local list project in Sevenoaks Town to this East Kent audience. In Sevenoaks, some 3-400 buildings have already been considered for inclusion on the list and the society hopes to submit the first tranche of recommendations to the district council early next year. Sir Michael Harrison described how the society had pushed the council to consider a local list in their Local Plan and the support they were now getting from both the Town and District Councils. John Stambollouian described how the project is progressing with relatively few but keen volunteers and Nick Umney described how, by careful initial planning, a quite sophisticated and versatile database of information on heritage assets can be developed with off-the-shelf software.
After lunch watching Margate’s newly-restored time ball in action, there was a lively discussion focussing on the way forward to preparation of local lists in East Kent, with Robert Lloyd-Smith of Historic England bringing the audience up to date on the progress of their related “Buildings at Risk” Project.
The Symposium was hosted by Margate Civic Society and the Margate Neighbourhood Plan Forum and supported by Turner Contemporary who provided the venue.