Guidance for Historic and Listed Building Owners

©Vale Royal Borough Council

Region: North West

Owner Type: Many

Funding Body: Vale Royal Borough Council

Year of Intervention: 2000 - 2002

Summary: Vale Royal Council has published a booklet entitled 'Guidance for Historic and Listed Building Owners' (2002), which gives advice on the repair and maintenance of historic properties. This booklet was sent to the owners of every listed building in the Borough in order to provide consultation, education and assist them in looking after their own properties.

Description: The historic and architecturally important buildings of Vale Royal form a significant part of the Boroughs heritage and, as such, are of high value, not only in monetary terms to their owners but to all residents and visitors to the Borough. Therefore their maintenance and repair deserves special consideration to ensure their value is not eroded.
Issue: The Government has stressed its commitment to the effective protection of all aspects of the historic environment. However, it has also emphasised that the responsibility of stewardship is shared by all sections of the community. In order to sustain broad public support and understanding, a key part of the Government conservation policy is that there should be adequate consultation and education. Vale Royal Borough Council has accepted these principals.
Strategy: The Vale Royal Council publication ‘Guidance for Historic and Listed Building Owners’ was timed to coincide with the first ever National Maintenance Week, which was promoted by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and ran from 22 – 29 November 2002. The Borough Council’s comprehensive booklet not only addresses repair and maintenance issues but also deals with VAT, grants, extensions, and planning and listed building control, amongst other topics. The booklet has also been published on the Council’s website, allowing access by the owners of non-listed properties. Along with the booklet, listed building owners in Vale Royal were sent the results of a rapid visual condition survey of their property, which had been conducted in 2001/2. This highlighted those aspects of the property to which owners needed to pay special attention. The details also included the listed building description and a map extract, to ensure that there was no confusion about which property is actually listed. Owners were encouraged to complete a response sheet, so that Council staff could address any errors or queries.
Outcome: David Hayes, the Borough Council’s Conservation and Design Manager who has coordinated the exercise said, “By producing this booklet and releasing the survey data, the Borough Council has passed on the specialist knowledge and information that it has, to those who have day to day responsibility for the maintenance of these irreplaceable heritage assets that none of us wish to see fall into disrepair”. Over 700 listed building entries covering around 900 separate buildings or structures were being dealt with in the exercise. The Council is processing the responses that are still being received from the recipients of the information. In 2000, the Council also produced its own comprehensive booklet on the listed buildings within the Borough, taking into account the various amendments that have been issued to the original lists and the changes to Parish and Town boundaries that are still not reflected in the official lists.

Keywords: Designation, Education and Outreach, Publication

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