Monday, 19 March 2012

Heritage Crimes

From the Daily Mail:-
England's most precious historic buildings are being hit by more than 200 crimes a day, it was revealed.
A study by English Heritage found churches and other religious buildings were the most affected, with more than a third left damaged.
Metal theft in the face of rising global prices is the single biggest problem facing old buildings, particularly places of worship, with one in seven churches damaged by having materials such as lead stolen from them last year.
In one case reported in the survey, a church in Hampshire saw its organ ruined by water leaks after thieves repeatedly stole metal from the roof.
The trouble is that "heritage" itself is most of the cause of this. The most vandalised building I know is listed, and that's because it's empty, and it's empty because the owner can't make a business from the building, and he can't make a business from the building because he can't get planning permission to change it.

Churches get vandalised because to change to a material that isn't going to get pinched (like slate) requires planning permission.

We have more than enough "heritage" that is owned by the nation from Anne Hathaway's house to Stonehenge to the Tower of London. Having some buildings modernised would not destroy our way of life - it would improve it. We should simply end the whole Listed Buildings thing.

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