Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 3 April 2005

Listed buildings allowed to fall into decline ...

... sad as this may be, I cannot bring myself to get too worked up about this. The 'frugality' of the councils high-lighted in this report is welcome. What I do not want to hear is that public funding is being used to renovate privately-owned property, nor that public money is to be used to purchase compulsorily such property, to 'justify' spending public money on their upkeep.

Heritage may be important (and I have been a member of The National Trust for Scotland since I was about eleven years old), but it has often seemed to me that the cult (*) of heritage has become a brake on worthwhile innovation and economic development. Turning the UK into some kind of heritage park for visiting tourists may be an attractive notion in some ways, but I don't think the long-term future of the UK lies in this direction.

(*) What else can have put the Centre Point building in London's Tottenham Court Road on anyone's agenda for listing? Far better to allow the site to be redeveloped with a practical building (it remained empty and unused for many years in a prime London location!) which is not a complete blot on the landscape.

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