IHBC Yearbook 2010

14 Y e a r b o o k 2 0 1 0 important resource for anyone looking for professional conservation advice. All of these achievements are a result of the incredible commitment of the IHBC’s staff and volunteers, at UK, national and regional levels. The institute relies on the considerable goodwill of many individuals and it has been a pleasure to work with so many talented people. For anyone wishing to support the IHBC and at the same time develop new skills, I would strongly recommend volunteering. It takes time and can be demanding, but it is also very rewarding and provides experience that the day job often can’t. There are some consolations for the time commitment too. I have been privileged to visit some fantastic historic places and amazing historic interiors over the past few years, including Hillsborough Castle in Belfast, The Banqueting House in Whitehall, Cardiff Castle, Lancaster House, and numerous other places of varying levels of taste. But for me the most interesting places have often been industrial areas, city centres and towns, where design and heritage-led regeneration have often driven dramatic physical and economic transformations. IHBC’s cross-sector and multidisciplinary membership provides a broad perspective as a professional body. IHBC is concerned with professional standards across disciplines and sectors. This is our particular strength. It also means that our focus is on the wider context, including the social and economic values of heritage and its role in supporting sustainable development. Too often, heritage is seen in narrow terms. Heritage is not just about understanding, interpretation and visitor attractions. It is part of the infrastructure of our society today. Historic buildings, spaces and areas are places to live, work, invest and spend leisure time. The key stakeholders are the owners, occupiers and users of heritage. For many of our members, the challenge is in finding solutions to reconcile such functional needs with the conservation of historic fabric. I have met many inspirational IHBC members over the past few years who have enabled heritage to be used in creative ways to deliver benefits to their local areas. This has not been achieved by a narrow focus on significance, but by addressing the widest range of issues and working with a range of stakeholders. It is for this reason that I have taken the wider social and economic benefits of heritage and its contribution to sustainable development as key themes of my chairmanship. Heritage will only gain wider support and resources if The refurbished Brunswick centre in Bloomsbury; an unusual example of heritage-led regeneration (Photo: Dave Chetwyn) there is a better understanding by key decision makers of the complex ways in which it creates public benefit. This goes very far beyond concern with tourism and visitors. The planning system has been under attack over the past few years, with a string of efficiency reviews. These have focused on process and simplistic economic analysis. However, they have largely failed to grasp the economic importance of ‘quality of place’ (both old and new). The draft PPS15 issued in 2009 demonstrated that there is a poor understanding of the positive roles heritage plays in delivering economic regeneration and sustainable development. I have long held the opinion that this narrow view of heritage is symptomatic of the separation that occurred in 1990 of parts of the place-making side of planning from the mainstream planning and regeneration ministry. There are still difficult times ahead. The recession has touched many of us. The heritage sector will have to fight its corner as resources are squeezed, but IHBC is in a stronger position than ever to help the sector face the challenge. Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the past few years. It has been a genuine pleasure working with you. Now for some therapy… Dave Chetwyn, chair@ihbc.org.uk