Conserve our conservation team

PUBLISHED: 13:14 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 06 May 2010

SIR — Without its heritage St Albans would be just another faceless town. What on earth, therefore, are the council doing destroying the conservation team in St Albans planning department? Those of us working in the conservation field know that, while we

SIR - Without its heritage St Albans would be just another faceless town. What on earth, therefore, are the council doing destroying the conservation team in St Albans planning department?

Those of us working in the conservation field know that, while we may not always agree with each other, the ability to discuss important conservation-based decision, prior to committing to an application or proceeding with works, is absolutely crucial in ensuring that the development and conservation of our local historic environment is managed in a careful and sustainable way.

With nearly 900 statutorily listed buildings and around 5,000 locally listed buildings in the district, the dramatic reduction to two people working part-time will mean that pressures from planning applications will over-ride proactive discussion and proper forward planning.

Also, this decision seems to fly in the face of the proposals set out in the Emerging Core Strategy and is somewhat at odds with the recently-drafted government planning advice for the historic environment (PPS15).

Presumably this decision has been undertaken on financial grounds. I can only wonder what the ultimate cost to our local heritage will be?

PETER HAYES

Historic Building Consultant

Mill Walk, Wheathampstead

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