Countryside Matters 2014 - page 42-43

Countryside
Matters
40
Countryside
Matters
41
Oneofourmostrecent
examplesofconstructive
conservation isthe
restorationoftheChina
Tower-anearly19th
centuryoctagonaltowerfolly inEast
Devon. Itwasbuiltasasurprise
birthdaypresentforthe1stBaron
Rolle in1839byhisyoungwifeLady
Louisa.Thetowerstoodemptyfor
manyyearsandwassubjectto
regularvandelism. Ithadfallen into
disrepairandneededsignificant
fundstofix its leakingroof.
Thebuilding itself isGrade II
listedand locatedona forested
knollatBaker’sBrakenearBicton
College.Decidinghowtorestore
thisbuilding,and forwhatpurpose
itmightbeused,wasthesubjectof
manydiscussions, resulting inan
approachtotheLandmarkTrust,a
charitythatrescuesandrestores
historicbuildingsatriskand lets
them forholidays.Weappointeda
specialistconservationarchitect,
JohnathanRhind,andworked
closelywiththeLandmarkTrust
toplanarestorationthatwould
CONSTRUCTIVE CONSERVATION
CONSTRUCTIVE CONSERVATION
The conservation movement has gradually moved from a reactive process,
focusing on preventing change, into a flexible process of helping people to
understand their historic environment and through that understanding, to
managechangetoitinthemostappropriateway.Thebestwaytosaveabuilding
is tofindanewuse for it. Even recently restoredbuildings that arevacantwill
soonstarttodegenerateagain.Anunreasonable,inflexibleapproachwillprevent
actionthatcouldhavegivenabuildingnew life.
Theaimof constructiveconservation is to recogniseand reinforce thehistoric
significance of places, while accommodating the changes necessary tomake
surethatpeoplecancontinuetouseandenjoythem. Whether it isanewusefor
anoldbuildingorre-establishinganolduseandencouragingpeopletovisitand
experience thehistoryfirsthand, conserving thehistorical importanceofasite
cansometimessave itfromdestruction.
People value historic places in many different ways depending on their
own inherent experience, background or associations but with constructive
conservation it is vital to have a consistent approach to understanding the
heritagevalueforeachbuilding,monumentand landscapeorconservationarea.
The concept of modern conservation involves having a more thorough
understandingofwhatmakesasite importantandworkingcollaborativelywith
ownersanddeveloperstofindasuitablenewuse. It is importantthatallparties
workcollaborativelyincludingowners,architects,developersandlocalauthorities
atearlypre-applicationstages tomakedecisionsbasedona fullunderstanding
ofthesiteandthe impactthatcanbehadonthe localenvironment.
A benefit that can be associated with a constructive conservation project is
the impressive economic value that is often related to the heritage of a site.
CONSTRUCTIVE
CONSERVATION
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
FORHISTORIC PLACES
Canwefix it?Yeswecan...
ESTATE
ANGLE
breathenew life intothisquirky
building.Originallytherewerea
fewcomforts inthetower; justa
simplerangeonthegroundfloor,
presumably forservantstoprepare
refreshments,andasinglesmall
fireplaceonthethirdfloor.  
Thechallengewastoretain
theeccentric featuresofthe
castellatedtowerwhilemaking it
comfortable forholidayvisitors.For
example,weneededtofitamodern
bathroom intoaverysmallspace
andfindbuilderswillingtoworkon
a four-storeytowerwithonlyone
narrowstairturret.Theyear-long
restorationbegan in2012withthe
entiretowerbeingscaffoldedso
thattherendercouldbesurveyed
andrepaired. Aswellastheground
floorbathroom, theChinaTower
now featuresatop-floordrawing
room, twobedroomsandakitchen.
Forthefirsttime in itshistory, the
follyhaselectricity,water froma
boreholeandair-sourceheating.
Thankstothevisionand
commitmentoftheLandmark
Trust,wehaveachievedastunning
restorationofavery important
pieceofEastDevon’shistory.We
havedoneourbesttokeepthe
towertruetoLadyLouisa’svision
while,atthesametime, introducing
a fewhomecomfortstoensurethat
holidayguestscan fullyenjoythe
eccentricityofthebuilding.
Testamenttotheeffortsofthe
restorationteam, theLandmark
Trusttellusthat,sincetheopening,
thetowerhasbecomeoneoftheir
mostpopularplacestostay.We
arealsoproudtohavereceiveda
recentcommendation fromEnglish
Heritage forourwork.GregLuton,
theDirectoroftheHeritageatRisk
Programmetoldus:“The futureof
England’sHeritagedependsvery
muchon localendeavourssuchas
LeighRix
HeadofPropertyandLand
yourstosavebuildingsandplaces
whichhaveaspecialmeaning for
thecommunityandwhichtellusso
muchaboutthepast.”
Theterm ‘constructive
conservation’ isonethatcanbeused
formuchofourworkacrossClinton
DevonEstates; fromusingtraditional
methodstore-thatchorrepaircobb
wallstoensuringthatwepreserve
buildingsthatare importanttoour
landscape. SouthFarmCourtat
BudleighSalterton, forexample,
wasconverted fromVictorian
farmbuildingsthatwereno
longerviable foragricultural
use.Today, theyprovidespace
foreightbusinesses–among
them,GeorgiePorgiesPuddings,
HawkinsCoffee,TriSupply
(Triumphmotorcyclestockiest)
andCreativeChrome (a
prostheticcastingservicetothe
dentalprofession)– inoneand
twostoreybusinessunits,
inarural location,but less
thanamileaway fromthe
towncentre.
LeighRix isaBoardMemberof
The InternationalCoalitionof
HistoricSitesofConscience.He
isalsoamemberoftheSouth
WestCBICouncilandtheRoyal
InstituteofCharteredSurveyors
(RICS)CountrysidePolicyPanel.
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