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The revision of the County Structure Plan (1988—1990) provided an opportunity to strengthen, clarify and modify policy on the re-use of historic buildings. The revised Plan now provides for a presumption of permission for change of use and conversion but only “where this would ensure preservation without the loss of character and without significant detriment to local amenities or landscape quality”.
Similarly for the policy regarding change of use in Conservation Areas stress is put on “the need for preserving and enhancing the special character of the conservation area and for encouraging its physical and economic revitalisation”.
Similar policies have been adopted by the Peak Park Planning Board.
These new policies are now beginning to influence the latest round of local plans. For example South Derbyshire District Council is being urged to give careful consideration to drawing up policies for the re-use of the Wharf-sheds which remain in industrial use at the inland port conservation area of Shardlow and to question whether any further conversions for residential use would lead to a significant loss of character for the conservation area as a whole.
Similarly, the once almost automatic welcoming of proposals for conversion to residential use for redundant agricultural buildings has been replaced by a new caution in the light of experience over the past ten years.
It is too early to tell what impact the new MAFF grants for the repair of traditional
agricultural building will have, but the absence of any -requirement for architectural supervision of such work is a matter of concern. At attempt is being made, in both the Peak Park and the County as a whole, to address this problem by giving ‘topping up’ giants which are accompanied by conditions regarding standards of workmanship and supervision by conservation officers.
The ‘stone tents’ initiative of the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust was taken up and developed further by the Peak Park but only a tiny fraction of the total number of field barns at risk has been put to use in this way.
Similarly, some new uses (mainly residential) have been found for redundant mills, chapels and other large building types. Some have been exemplary (eg Providence Mill, Wirksworth) but more often than not architectural quality and the effect of the character on the locality have suffered and, as with field barns, the majority of such redundant buildings remains under threat.
Perhaps the biggest strides forward are being made in the field of survey and assessment stimulated by English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Campaign. The Derbyshire Historic Building Trust is about one-third of the way through transferring the revised statutory lists onto a computer database in preparation for a ‘Domesday’ use and condition county wide survey which it is carrying out using a small volunteer team and, where appropriate, the services of local amenity societies.
The Design and Conservation Section Team of the County Planning Department continues to maintain its selective ‘Threatened Buildings List’ which is based mainly on the direct knowledge of conservation officers and other planning officers in the County. At present it contains 200 buildings of which 11 are Grade I or Grade II*. This includes The St Anne’s Hotel, (2/3 of the Crescent), Buxton. 2 St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield, a re-fronted 16th century jet ted timber framed house with a fine 17th century enriched plater ceiling and Barlborough Hall, a ‘Smythson’ House now used as a school but sadly shorn of its stone lantern and statuesque chimney stacks which lie, dismantled, on the roof.
In 1987 the County Council established its own ‘in house’ revolving fund repair scheme to help address the problem and in June 1989, Dr Pat Hollis (now Lady Hollis), the English Heritage Commissioner, opened the first completed project a group of four cottages in Whitwell Conservation Area. The scheme was accompanied by an extensive educational and training programme to help promote good practice in the County as a whole.
Barry Joyce
Derbyshire CC
MONTAGU REVISITED
John Fidler, a tangible product of the Mon tagu report, gives his views.

Although I was not called personally as a witness at the time ofJenniferJenkins’ hearings, Tony Pass, the then conservation officer for Greater Manchester Council, made reference to my Masters thesis at Manchester Univer sity School of Architecture, where he was external examiner; the document was used and cited (with wrong references) in the published report on page 93.
In a sense, I was one of the first products of the Montagu report on the setting up of English Heritage. In the summer of 1984, Diana Phillips, the Head of Urban Conservation and Historic Buildings, gained permis sion to dispense with the old, reactive Historic Buildings Bureau and to appoint a proactive ‘Buildings at Risk’ officer on a temporary three year non-renewable contract. I was that man: materialising in Sep
tember 1984 from the City of London Corporation.
On the 75 recommendations made in the report (pages 81-86), I would make the following personal comments:

Recommendations 2-4:
Too simplistic: some multi-occupancy residential schemes stuff too much into too little with principal rooms subdivided and service pipes everywhere.
Small office schemes with low floor loadings are quite good (no subdivision) and private clinics (small bedrooms over com mon rooms) work well.

Recommendation 5
A bigger strategic
imagined, especially
Church in Wales and
The Advisory Board
Anglican body.
Recommendation 12
The best policy document on public authority owned historic buildings was written by Alastair Glass for the Property Ser vices Agency, eg the Handbook.

Recommendation 17
VAT:
nearly there.
Recommendations 18 and 19 Reference here to my thesis and the US Tax Incentive scheme. In the hearings held by the committee a single question to the Institute for Fiscal Studies and an unsympathetic answer watered down all interests in the US system. But the Business Expansion Scheme invented later as a tax shelter mechanism came ever-so-dose to the model needed. It was never taken up and the UK lost out on a positive measure now operating in four European countries.
DERBYSHIRE:
THE PAST TEN YEARS
problem than ever for the Established the Non-Conformists. is of course only an
CONTEXT 26
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