UWE and EHTF help Conservation workers

Issue date: 06 February 2006

EHTF logo The University of the West of England (UWE) is collaborating with the English Historic Town Forum (EHTF) to help local authority conservation officers to implement new requirements for Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans.

A national series of seminars organised by the EHTF and lead by experts at UWE will begin on 27 February 2006. The seminars will take place in the historic towns of Guildford, King's Lynn, York, Lancaster, Shrewsbury and Bath

EHTF is an independent, not-for-profit, membership organisation that represents local authorities, private sector companies, civic and amenity societies, individuals and others, with an interest in all aspects of the management of historic towns and cities.

Chris Winter, Director of the EHTF explains, “Most local authorities based in historic towns employ at least one conservation officer tasked with looking after all conservation activities that come within a local authority remit. Recently the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has introduced a requirement for Local Planning Authorities to produce 'Character Appraisals' and 'Management Plans' for all their conservation areas.

“Many local authorities employ just one conservation officer and there is widespread concern about how they can achieve the requirements of the ODPM. There are over 8,000 conservation areas in England alone and research carried out jointly by UWE and EHTF has already revealed that only about 30% of conservation areas have a character appraisal and only 6% of conservation areas have an up to date management plan. This is where we have decided to step in and bridge the gap by helping Conservation Officers to translate the ODPM requirements into action.”

Sandra Manley, Principal Lecturer in UWE's Faculty of the Built Environment and a frequent contributor to the Faculty's extensive programme of short courses, will be leading the seminars; she said, “The seminar series will offer opportunities for around 300 local authority Conservation Officers and practitioners in the private sector to share best practice. We have researched best practice and we want to share this but we also want to learn from practitioners and exchange knowledge and skills between the practice community and the University.

“The sessions will be particularly helpful to practitioners by developing their ability to grasp the essential characteristics that make an area special. These characteristics can then be used as a basis of the preparation of a conservation management plan. The idea of a plan is not to stifle new development in historic areas, but to find positive approaches to the management of change. This means looking at how areas of architectural and historic interest can adapt to accommodate transport and parking, tourism and leisure, retail and housing development and all the other modern day activities. This is quite a challenge”


Editor's notes

Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans
Seminar series programme of events:

Monday 27 February, Burchatts Barn, Guildford
Friday 24 March Town Hall, King's Lynn
Wednesday 3 May National Centre for Early Music, York
Friday 5 May, Town Hall, Lancaster
Friday 10 March, The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury
Wednesday 24 May, Hilton Hotel, Bath

For programme details and bookings contact EHTF on 0117 975 0459 or www.ehtf.org.uk.

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