Dear Editor, As Cabinet Member for Regeneration the conservation of the historic environment in the city is part of my responsibility and one in which I take a particular interest.
The wealth and variety of built heritage in the City may be unsurpassed in this country outside London, from the Roman Fort at Metchley to the Rotunda, from the Jewellery Quarter to School Road, Hall Green, these are some of the extremes of our protected heritage. There are in fact almost 2,000 Listed Buildings and 28 conservation areas in the city and we are actively increasing that protection.
The recent approval of the designation of a new conservation area in Harborne will very shortly be followed by two new areas in Selly Park and the extension of the St Agnes Conservation Area in Moseley. In all these areas, with the support of local councillors and the great majority of residents we are introducing an Article 4(2) Direction to control some of the potentially more damaging alterations to houses.
This confirms my view that , again, in the variety and quality of our suburbs this city is unsurpassed outside the capital. This year there will therefore be three new conservation areas designated which is quite unprecedented in recent years and soon we shall start to consider a further new conservation area in part of Handsworth Wood. Many readers will know that we are actively pursuing World Heritage Site status for the Jewellery Quarter. The Ideal Village, Bordesley Green has recently received attention where for a number of reasons conservation area quality has been eroded over a long period; happily this is an isolated example.
Elsewhere we are currently extending the protection of areas, buildings and sites. English Heritage has now placed twelve parks, gardens and cemeteries on its National Register, again recognising another aspect of our city’s historic legacy which brings with it responsibilities and challenges, but also real opportunities.
Recognising the significance of the historic environment and what it contributes to the lives of all of us who live here, and then ensuring it is part of the image of the Global City which we seek to project is a clear commitment which I have made for my portfolio. Protecting the historic environment as a finite resource is an essential part of the wider commitment to sustainability which the city council is addressing and indeed one which all of us individually must sign up to.
Coun Neville Summerfield,
Cabinet Member for Regeneration