Hundreds of hours ‘wasted’ after heritage asset review postponed

PUBLISHED: 13:29 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:30 25 October 2018

Watch Hill House designed by architect Charles Hatchard-Smith.

Watch Hill House designed by architect Charles Hatchard-Smith.

Archant

Campaigners are worried historical buildings will be left unprotected.

Hundreds of hours have been ‘wasted’ trying to protect important historical buildings after a council delayed a formal review for the third time, say a campaign group

The criticism was levelled at East Devon District Council (EDDC) by the Otter Valley Association (OVA) after a formal review into heritage assets in the area was postponed for a third time.

OVA campaigners are worried without a review planning decisions may be made which compromise important historical buildings and structures.

An OVA spokesman said: “For the third time since 2016, EDDC has postponed the long promised formal review of the lcal heritage assets list by the strategic planning committee.

“So, 100 hours of work wasted as the list is not legally accepted for planning purposes, as demonstrated by an inspector’s decision on a recent planning application which dismissed any idea of the ‘specialness’ to the community of a beautiful Hatchard Smith house in Budleigh Salterton.”

A spokeswoman for EDDC responded to the association’s criticisms, she said: “We very much value the hard work that the OVA has put into their list of nominations for the local list of heritage assets and are sorry that we have not been able to progress this work more quickly.

“Unfortunately, we have limited resources and, first and foremost, we have to prioritise undertaking our statutory duties in relation to listed buildings, conservation areas and other heritage assets to ensure that the nationally important heritage assets in the district are conserved.”

According to EDDC there are more than 3,000 entries on the national list in East Devon and the work involved in conserving the structures ‘leaves little time to commit to compiling a list of locally important heritage assets’.

However, work is being done on the council’s heritage strategy which will clarify the council’s position on the local list as well as provide a timeline for production of the list.

The spokeswoman added: “The heritage strategy has been delayed to enable wider engagement with the membership of the council, however this additional work will lead to a better strategy and a wider understanding of the issues among council members before it is presented to the Council’s strategic planning committee on November 27.”

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