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Tailored Review of Historic England – Response by The Enfield Society

We are pleased to have the opportunity to comment on this review.

The Enfield Society is a charity with around 1,700 members which has as its
object the conservation and enhancement of the civic and natural
environments of the London Borough of Enfield and its immediate surrounding
area. We are a member of Civic Voice, the national body for the civic
movement.

Conservation of our heritage is a national concern, and we consider it to
be important that there should continue to be a national body with the
authority and expertise to

  • ensure the continued preservation of the National Historic
    Collection managed by English Heritage;
  • provide a focal point for research and records;
  • provide guidance to the DCMS on listing of heritage assets;
  • provide guidance to local authorities and to developers on
    planning applications in relation to listed assets; and
  • establish and maintain standards in the conservation of heritage.

In particular we value HE’s Heritage at Risk Register as an important way
of highlighting particular problems and encouraging action to remedy them.

To provide assurance that these functions will be performed on a long-term
basis to appropriate standards we believe that they should continue to be
the responsibility of a governmental body.

As a society we are active in the conservation of heritage in our borough
and we are fortunate to work with a local authority which continues to have
an effective heritage function, despite the reductions in local authority
funding which have impacted on the services that can be provided. However,
local engagement needs the support of expertise which it is hard to sustain
effectively at local level. In addition there is in our view a need for a
national body with sufficient weight to counterbalance local political
and/or business pressures where these may adversely affect heritage assets
or the historic environment.

We are not in a position to comment in detail on Historic England’s
performance of the above functions, but it is our impression that it does a
reasonable (and essential) job in a period of continual financial
stringency. We would not wish this to be prejudiced.

We hope that this is helpful.

Richard Stones, Hon. Secretary

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