Tuesday 25 March 2014

New HHA policy statement calls for parliamentary support to preserve the nation’s heritage

The Historic Houses Association (HHA) has always been vociferous in its attempts to highlight the importance of the UK’s architectural heritage.

Late last year the HHA’s President Richard Compton argued that the UK economy’s austerity measures and threatening taxes are making it more difficult to maintain Britain’s privately owned heritage.

He went on to highlight that the condition of Britain’s privately owned heritage can have either a positive or negative reflection on our tourist industry.

“Do you want foreign visitors to go back telling their friends ‘what a pity Britain has let its main tourist assets, its country houses, fall into a state of disrepair. I wouldn’t go there if I were you.’ No, you want them to say, ‘go to Britain, its historic houses are fantastic and you may even meet the people who live in them and love them,” he said.

Now the HHA, which represents 1500 privately-owned historic houses, castles and gardens throughout the UK, has published a policy statement entitled ‘Heritage Means Business – Enabling Britain’s Inspirational Places To Meet New Challenges’.

As well as highlighting the potential threats to the future of the UK’s historic homes, including an outstanding repair bill that has climbed from £390m in 2009 to £750m, it calls on political parties to offer their support to preserve heritage property now and into the future.

The policy statement also makes four key recommendations that the HHA argues will ‘enable historic houses and gardens to succeed’. This includes broadening eligibility for independently-owned heritage to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and raising the ceiling on grants for these projects.

Commenting on the policy statement, Mr Compton said: “Historic houses, castles and gardens are part of the unique character of what makes Britain great.

“The legislative and fiscal framework for private owners has become significantly tougher and the challenges are considerable.  Many historic house businesses face threats to their survival.  Looking ahead to the elections of the next two years, it is critically important that governments understand the practical needs of historic houses and gardens when designing and implementing their policies, for the sake of all those who visit historic houses and gardens, and for all those whose livelihoods depend on their success.”

If you are completing renovations on your historic home, The Sash Window Workshop can help with many aspects including sash window re-glazing.