How the historic environment can be conserved and managed in a way that secures its future.

The Constructive Conservation and Sustainable Management group used two cross-cutting themes (the future of historic high streets and town centres, and the transfer of publicly owned heritage assets) to address the priorities for collaboration for this theme of the Heritage 2020 Framework.

Heritage and the High Street

The future of historic high streets is a key concern for the heritage sector as well as local communities, businesses and investors. Over the course of the Heritage 2020 programme, the Constructive Conservation and Sustainable Management working group looked at how a heritage-led response could help to address the challenges faced by the high street in response to social and economic forces for change.

Heritage and the High Street: Mapping Activity

At the start of the programme in 2016, the group collated and published examples of research, toolkits and projects that promote a heritage led response to the changing face of the high street: High Streets Activity Mapping.

It also created an online noticeboard for wider contributions – and although the Heritage 2020 programme has now finished, contributions to this resource can still be made here.

Heritage and the High Street: Which Way Now?

As its next step the group held an event, on 6 December 2017, to explore current and emerging issues in relation to historic high streets. It reviewed what’s working and what isn’t and discussed how to tackle barriers to achieving positive growth in historic centres.

The event brought together senior representatives in local government, the development industry, property sector landowners and policy makers with an interest in retail, high streets, town centres and heritage-led regeneration. It helped to develop an understanding of current issues through the presentation of four case studies:

Identity, place branding and marketing – Derby
Clive Fletcher, Principal Historic Places Adviser, Historic England

Innovative leadership – Great Yarmouth
Darren Barker, Great Yarmouth Building Preservation Trust

Planning – Birmingham Jewellery Quarter
Marcus Hawley, Director, Blackswan Property

Diversification – Sunderland
Les Clark, Chief Operating Officer, Place – Sunderland City Council

The event was kindly hosted by Trowers and Hamlins LLP in Birmingham and was Chaired by Rachel Campbell of the British Property Federation and facilitated by Elizabeth Clare of Historic England.
See an outline of the workshop, Heritage and the High Street: Which Way Now?

December 2017 #HeritageChat on ‘Heritage and High Streets – Which way next?’

This Twitter chat followed on from the group’s workshop and encouraged participants to share their knowledge and expertise on the role that Heritage plays in the economic health of High Streets and town centres. You can read a full summary of the discussion here.

Transfer of publicly owned heritage assets

The transfer of heritage assets from public ownership can provide a way to maximise the use of historic assets, and minimise factors which place heritage at risk, whilst also recognising the relevance of the historic environment to society.

The Heritage 2020 Constructive Conservation and Sustainable Management (CCSM) group have used a Theory of Change Model (developed by the Architectural Heritage Fund) to identify which parts of the process are well-covered, and where there are gaps.

Find out more about the group’s work on the transfer of  publicly owned heritage assets.

A consultation (carried out by Heritage 2020 in 2016) on the priorities for each working group showed there is lots of guidance available, but it is difficult to find.

Historic High Street Heritage Chats

The CCSM working group hosted two Twitter chats on Historic High streets in 2019. 

In July’s chat, participants discussed the future role high streets will play in society and how they can best be used now. Also discussed was the information that is currently available for communities wishing to get more involved in the future of their high streets and what is missing in this regard.  You can catch up on the discussions here. 

September’s chat followed on from July’s, but this time participants specifically discussed what non-funding support could help local authorities and communities to regenerate their historic high streets. Discussions explored what role national organisations could play in this and what skills gaps there are that inhibit progress. Throughout the chat, excellent examples were shared of communities coming together to support their local high streets. You can read a full summary here.