Historic South West buildings paving the way to economic growth
New English Heritage publication, 'Constructive Conservation - Sustainable Growth for Historic Places' demonstrates repaired historic buildings contribute to economic growth across the South West
From Clifton Lido and Quakers Friars in Bristol to Marine Parade Shelters in Lyme Regis and Clinton Devon Estates in East Devon - across the South West businesses are flourishing in historic buildings that have been repaired or adapted to help them have a more successful financial future.
Four such buildings and structures in the South West are celebrated in a new publication published today by English Heritage called 'Constructive Conservation - Sustainable Growth for Historic Places' that highlight success stories across the country. They are all conservation-led projects where the positive and constructive approach to managing change demonstrated by English Heritage and enlightened local authorities has helped historic buildings to be kept in use.
Constructive Conservation means having a thorough understanding of what makes a site historically important and collaboratively working with owners and developers to enhance that, while finding a new use that allows their continued use and enjoyment.
Veryan Heal, Acting Planning and Conservation Director in the South West for English Heritage, said: "Buildings of the past can serve the future well, as demonstrated by the job creation and business growth at the businesses throughout region featured in our new 'Constructive Conservation' publication. Repair and adaptation of our existing building stock is inherently sustainable and these historic buildings demonstrate heritage is clearly not a barrier to growth."
The case studies show the many ways in which historic buildings can contribute to job creation, business growth and economic prosperity. For example, in Bristol, highly graded Quakers Friars which incorporates the remains of a Dominican friary established around 1227 has now been re-opened as a vibrant restaurant. One of the many gains from this new use for this former meeting house is the opening up of access to the original gallery by means of a new staircase that was introduced at the suggestion of English Heritage and the restoration of the original columned hall which had previously been subdivided into cramped office space. Meanwhile, Grade II* listed Clifton Lido, which was once derelict is now back in use as a vibrant and economically successful commercial venture.
In East Devon, English Heritage supported the new Rolle Estate Office at the Clinton Devon Estates as it helped invigorate a degraded part of the Grade I park and restore lost landscape elements such as historic tree clumps and estate railings. The design of the new building responded to the historic setting, incorporated local materials and achieved high levels of sustainability.
Lord Clinton, Clinton Devon Estates said: "By locating the Rolle Estate Office here at Bicton, we have re-established the strong historic link between the Estate and its original centre of operations. Not only has it provided us with a geographically central and environmentally friendly base from which to run all the Estate's activities, it has also enabled the restoration of the beautiful parkland in which it is located."
In Dorset, the updating of some of the historic Lyme Regis Marine Parade Shelters helped renew the waterfront area, together with the building of new shelters, two new shops, a performance area, a market area and two new community rooms. The project has also improved the physical and visual links between the town, harbour, Lister and Langmoor Gardens and surrounding areas.
English Heritage's role in these case studies has been to give technical and practical advice that ensures the historic significance is understood and brought out while supporting economic viability.
The publication can be downloaded from www.english heritage.org.uk/constructiveconservation