HOW CAN WE PROTECT OUR HERITAGE ASSETS?

With all the changes contained in the emerging Borough Local Plan and town centre regeneration what can Maidenhead do to protect some of its more attractive buildings and landscapes?
That's the question being posed by Maidenhead Civic Society at its annual general meeting next week. Currently, around half the local planning authorities in the UK have a 'local list' of their heritage assets. Maidenhead is not one of them.
Sevenoaks in Kent, however, is. They have recently completed the task of compiling one; and two officers from Sevenoaks Civic Society who ran the project are coming to explain how they did it in a presentation "Recording our Local Heritage".
Non-designated heritage assets are buildings, monuments, sites, places or landscapes of merit that deserve respect and consideration in planning terms but which are not protected as a Listed Building, a Conservation Area or the like. A 'local list' would include sites which are distinctive or of particular importance to the community and deserve recognition. While 'local listing' offers no statutory protection to a building or site, it is a material consideration when determining the outcome of a planning application; and there's plenty of evidence to show that it has helped to preserve character and sense of place in the face of unwanted redevelopment.
Maidenhead Society chairman, Bob Dulson, said: "If all it does is make people more aware of what's around them, that's a bonus, but a local list would undoubtedly change the level of consideration given to preserving the character or appearance of a site during a planning application. At another level, it could form the basis of a waiting list of sites that could be considered for formal protection in future."
The Civic Society's meeting takes place next Wednesday (22nd November) in St Luke’s Community Hall, Norfolk Road at 8.00 pm.