A Sustainability Toolkit to support local authorities and other groups in their successful and sustainable management of heritage assets
Local authorities have faced long-standing pressure to dispose of heritage assets that are not supporting core service objectives or adequate return on investment, and in the current financial climate - the need to make the most efficient use of assets is ever more acute.
With maintenance and refurbishment costs generally higher and disposal costs lower, the management of heritage assets poses particular challenges. Although re-using historic buildings can minimise construction waste, reduce our carbon footprint, encourage a vibrant local economy and reinforce a sense of place and civic pride, if a narrow asset management perspective is taken heritage assets can come to be regarded as liabilities and obstacles to development, rather than the community assets they are and should continue to be.
For a number of years, concern has been expressed by many heritage interest groups that local authorities throughout the UK are not safeguarding our historic spaces and places well enough. Too often local authorities take the decision to dispose of these buildings to new owners without due consideration of the building's worth and utility, or taking steps to sustain their future by minimising the risk of inappropriate development or even destruction.
This is a toolkit which provides local authorities with a series of steps to consider when managing heritage assets and when bringing them forward for disposal. The toolkit provides exemplar case studies which illustrate how local authorities across the UK have successfully delivered sustainable outcomes by pursuing pro-active and imaginative approaches towards asset management. By embedding sustainability into local authority decision-making processes, they can achieve greater financial cost savings in the long-term as well as strengthening links with the community.
Although written primarily for use for local authorities, the guidance in this toolkit can be widely implemented by other statutory bodies or groups.
The Sustainability Toolkit is available here