'Save our buildings from needless demolition': South Downs campaigner backs calls for change
and live on Freeview channel 276
And they are being backed by environmental campaigner Vic Ient, organiser of the South Downs Network.
There are more than 1,800 listed buildings – properties of special architectural or historical interest – in the Horsham district and more than half a million across the UK.
These buildings are protected from demolition or ‘unsuitable’ alterations, but there is a growing demand for more buildings to receive similar protection.
Currently there are three grades of listed buildings: Grade I – of exceptional interest; Grade II* – of particular importance and containing outstanding features; and Grade II – of special interest which warrant preservation. But now it is being suggested that a third status should be introduced.
The Architects’ Journal says that a new Grade III listing would halt a tide of demolition and is calling for changes to the Town and Country Planning Act to enable it to happen.
And the South Downs Network is supporting the call. Organiser Vic Ient, who is also publisher of Save Lewes Architecture, says: “We need to raise awareness of the environmental costs of demolition and rebuilding. Renovation of an existing building would reduce CO2 emissions and give the opportunity to repurpose many wonderful, but not strictly historical, existing buildings.
"We are not alone in the quest, The Victorian Society are constantly campaigning for buildings which could be saved from demolition. The Twentieth Century Society are also keen to preserve significant national and local buildings”.
“When an area comes under the spectrum of ‘regenerate’ we can breathe new life into a town or rural community by not tearing down a building but by upgrading it.
"Buildings, properly integrating with nature, insulated and improved against flooding, would not only cost less in climate and financial terms but would maintain and enhance the architectural heritage of the area.
“The Government not only needs to change the planning law to introduce the new Grade III listing should also reduce VAT on renovation costs. In the UK we have a crazy situation whereby renovation materials are rated at 20 per cent VAT but a new build is zero-rated.
"By changing the law there will be a level playing field between new build and renovation.”