2007 Yearbook

INSTITUTE OF HISTORIC BUILDING CONSERVATION YEARBOOK 2007 20 I N R E V I E W CONSULTATIONS – IHBC IN THE PUBLIC EYE Karen Holyoake CONSULTATIONS SECRETARY The role of the Consultation Secretary is to monitor and, as appropriate, manage responses to issues and formal consultations from government departments and other national or regional bodies relevant to the institute’s work. A key objective is to keep such bodies aware of how we can help, the importance of our advice and how best to maintain and enhance the historic environment. Consultation responses provide an opportunity to promote awareness of the social, economic, environmental and educational benefits of well cared-for historic places. The process promotes the interests of the institute to government ministers and departments and other relevant national and regional bodies. IHBC’s consultation responses are based on the work of a panel of volunteers operating across the UK, and are co-ordinated by the secretary to ensure the responses are consistent and represent the views of the membership nationally and, as appropriate, in national and regional branches. KEY THEMES The historic environment is an irreplaceable resource, delivering substantial social, economic, cultural, educational and environmental benefits, in addition to providing one of the most sustainable forms of development. (See our overarching policy statement, Valuing Places at www.ihbc.org.uk. ) These key themes are championed by the institute, and emphasise the need for additional resources for heritage projects and regeneration schemes. The historic environment has been a major component in delivering urban and rural renaissance, economic prosperity and sustainable communities throughout the UK. There is also the need to recognise and promote building conservation as an integral part of the sustainable agenda. Consultation responses often provide an opportunity to convey this message. This can be presented through the most sustainable use of resources such as buildings, saving energy, accommodating mixed use development by bringing vacant and under-used buildings back into use, and better catering for the needs of local communities. Essential to promoting the value of the historic environment is the need to develop and resource programmes of training, education and outreach to ensure that all decisions affecting the built environment are property informed by heritage and design best practices. Many consultations fail to recognise resource implications and the needs of the historic sector overall. Also, the institute understands that greater emphasis and recognition must be placed on the extensive public support for conservation. During 2006 IHBC’s responses included coverage of the following major consultations: David McDonald opening Retail Therapy, Heritage and Urban Design in Town Centres, the IHBC London branch conference in November 2006 (Photo: Seán O’Reilly)