The Story so far
We blogged previously that English Heritage was reportedly instrumental in persuading Government Departments to repress planning legislation which required applicants to consider disposal and treatment of materials that might be affected by demolition at the time of new applications. This behind the scenes activity was recently commented upon in our blog at the time of the recent DEFRA consultation submission to Europe (Revisions to the Waste HierarchyPP115).
It seems, that what appeared at the time as the misguided action of English Heritage, possibly for misplaced but sincere reasons, is only part of what, increasingly, looks like a broader policy of more serious intrigue.
English Heritage is arguably compromised
English Heritage has, according to Richard Girling in his Times Online article Fireworks over fireplaces, embarked for some time in commercial activity that seems to compromise its independence and integrity. Arguably, this conflicts with public expectation of such an auspicious champion of conservation and heritage matters.
If Richard Girling is correct, English Heritage is very confused on matters relating to accurate historical architectural detail and not a little bit hypocritical, if not potentially fraudulent, in not declaring a vested interest when proffering advice on period fireplaces and chimneypieces.
Authenticity vs Commercial Advantage…you decide
How can English Heritage remain independent and free from external influence if it is advising on architectural matters of authenticity and at the same time recommending clients install reproduction fireplaces from a company with whom it enjoys commercial advantages?
This seems a straightforward conflict of interest without even considering the carbon footprint of importing manufactured reproduction chimneypieces from Turkey, Italy and China.
In 2010 , I think we need to re -examine the role of who, in English Heritage, is responsible for these disastrous policy decisions before the public loses all confidence in these former trusted champions of Britain’s precious heritage.