‘Most ambitious’ heritage preservation campaign for 40 years

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has launched the most ambitious local heritage campaign for 40 years to highlight heritage buildings that reflect their local area and identity.

The new campaign will challenge every single local authority across England to draw up lists of buildings of significant historical and cultural value to an area, ensuring important local monuments are no longer left neglected and unloved. The move is being funded by £700,000 to help ten English counties identify areas which need protecting, with the councils to be announced in due course.

In addition to Historic England launching a national campaign on local identity getting the country talking about what defines our heritage, a local heritage champion will be appointed to spearhead the campaign and encourage councils to increase local listings.

The Communities Secretary is taking the direct step of contacting every parish council in England to make sure they are conserving the buildings which have played a remarkable role in their local history and need our support.

Jenrick said: “Today I’ve launched the most ambitious heritage preservation campaign for decades. This will empower local people to protect thousands of historic buildings and preserve them for future generations. Getting more buildings locally listed isn’t just about keeping a building intact – it keeps a community’s identity thriving.”

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Our built heritage is one of the things that make England one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It helps us attract millions of visitors every year who are keen to see the historic buildings at the heart of our communities, helping to boost our economy and make our towns and cities better places to live, work and visit. By encouraging more local listings, we will ensure that buildings are protected for future generations so that the benefits heritage brings are felt right across the country.”

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “We are pleased that the government has recognised the importance of local heritage. Preserving heritage sites – war memorials, ancient castles and houses - contributes to local priorities by boosting economies, attracting visitors, developing workforce skills and fostering community cohesion. They also play an important role in the regeneration of our town centers and high streets, which councils across the country are leading on.

“While this funding is a positive step for local authorities, alongside other recent investments in culture and heritage, it is vital that councils have the long-term, sustainable funding to protect and unlock the value of heritage sites for their communities. The government must therefore use the forthcoming Budget to simplify the funding for local government; allowing councils to develop ambitious plans that maximise the impact of the money available.”