Landscapes At Risk
Jonathan Lovie writes:
As if to underline the message implicit in our casework figures, in June English Heritage published its Heritage At Risk data for 2009, which for the first time named historic designed landscapes identified as being ‘at risk’. A total of 94 registered sites were named, with 24 in the South East, 16 in the South West, 14 in London, 11 in each of the West Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber, 7 in the East of England, 6 in the East Midlands, 5 in the North West and 2 in the North East.
Of these sites, 3 are Grade I on the Register, 27 are Grade II*, and 66 Grade II. These figures serve to remind us both of the vulnerability of Grade II registered sites in the planning system; and also of the importance of our role as the only statutory consultee commenting on Grade II registered landscapes from the historic landscape perspective.
Examining the landscapes named as At Risk, it is striking that two particular types of site stand out: cemeteries, and sites where the principal building and its landscape are in institutional, and particular educational use. This trend certainly bears out the experience of the GHS conservation officers, who have seen many instances of landscapes under pressure from a desire by schools and colleges to provide more facilities, often in an incremental and ill-thought through manner. It is clear from our experience that sites of this type will benefit greatly from the production of a management plan, and certainly this is something we regularly request as part of the planning process.