Thursday, 5 December 2013

Prince Charles calls for neglectful heritage owners to forfeit their ownership of them

In an article for BDOnline Elizabeth Hopkirk reported:
"Heritage assets should come with development time limit, says Prince
The Prince of Wales has called for a change in the law to force the owners of historic buildings to forfeit them if they fail to find a sensitive solution within a fixed timeframe.
This would prevent valuable heritage assets from slipping into dereliction, the prince said in a speech celebrating English Heritage’s centenary last night.
Admiralty Arch at Trafalgar Square was rescued after just such a transfer of ownership, he said.
“If we want to save and convert the sort of heritage property I have mentioned, we have to find better ways of dealing with the sale of historic sites so that if a purchaser fails to do anything with the building within, say, two or three years, or fails to find a sensitive, sympathetic solution for it, then they should be required to return the property to the public body that originally owned it or, at least, have it transferred to a charitable body which has the experience, talent and means to do something with it,” he said.
“There is no doubt that the introduction of a set period of time in which to maintain or restore a building can be a key element in making the most of what is left of our heritage.”
Speaking at a dinner at the newly restored Kenwood House in Hampstead attended by architecture and heritage minister Ed Vaizey, he said the sale of historic buildings – often by the state – had not always been done well.
“I can only pray that Historic England, as it will become, will be able to work closely with other, related organisations to develop this approach in the future,” he said.
“Especially bearing in mind a fresh round of government disposals taking place as we speak. Surely, this time, we could get it right?”
The prince went on to argue that property developers should see heritage buildings as a “brand asset” since research has shown that a business operating out of a restored or listed building attracts a “heritage premium” worth £13,000 a year.
Heritage protection was also a powerful way of bringing back to life often deprived communities, he added."
Click here to download the text of the Prince's speech
Click here to download Simon Thurley's speech of welcome (Chief Executive English Heritage)

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