The Prince’s Regeneration Trust has welcomed the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment published today, which has a dedicated section on 'Investing in heritage'.
Chief Executive Ros Kerslake OBE was a contributor to the report, giving evidence to the Committee last November. In particular she highlighted that the government’s new National Planning Policy Framework was being interpreted in a way which prioritised economic growth above other key factors such as cultural, social and environmental issues.
Today’s report acknowledges that heritage is vital for boosting 'civic pride', and also that ‘the economic and social benefits of the historic environment make a significant contribution to the economy’. This includes the economic benefits of heritage tourism which accounted for 2% of the UK’s GDP in 2011. However, it does not at this stage set out how valuable and at risk heritage sites can be protected and become sustainable.
In response to the report Kerslake commented: ‘Setting out the financial gain from investing in heritage buildings is a good start in saving more of them. But the real task is going to be finding new sources of funding such as social investment and demonstrating the broad social and economic benefits.’
The Committee also emphasises in the report that England needs a national strategy to protect the UK’s heritage, and to make it an integral part of future planning decisions on the built environment.