National talk on conservation heritage to be held in Stamford

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Property consultants Bidwells will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of conservation areas during a national conference to be held in Stamford.

The Civic Amenities Act was introduced in 1967, and to mark the anniversary Bidwells’ Heritage Team will be hosting a one-day national heritage conference on Thursday, September 21, in Stamford – the UK’s first conservation area - looking at what has been learnt over the last 50 years in terms of conservation, and how it has affected the way our environments have grown. The firm will also launch its new heritage data resource.

The ‘Stamford 50’ conference is a stand-out event in a special Summer and Autumn ‘Stamford 50’ programme devised by heritage partners including Bidwells. It will bring together a range of speakers who represent different professions and stakeholders whose life or work is influenced by the existence of conservation areas.

Key names include: Dr Jonathan Foyle and Tom Dyckhoff, both architectural historians and broadcasters, Dan Cruickshank, art historian and broadcaster, and James Simpson, OBE, the renowned conservation architect.

At the event, developed in association with host authority South Kesteven District Council, Bidwells will be launching their heritage data research which analyses conservation areas and listed buildings throughout the UK, assembling a comprehensive resource for the heritage property sector.

Their research finds that, both within and outside conservation areas, there are over 375,000 entries on the statutory list, equating to more than 500,000 listed buildings in England, representing just under 1.5 per cent of all the nation’s building 
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The historic core of Stamford was the first location to be designated a Conservation Area in the whole of the UK and, at the time of designation in 1967, it accounted for over half the listed buildings within Lincolnshire.

Now, despite the county’s relatively low population density, Lincolnshire has the fifth highest concentration of Grade I listed properties (just under 400 buildings) of all the counties in England. Only Norfolk, Suffolk, London and Devon have more top-graded listings.

This reflects Lincolnshire’s importance as an area for heritage within the UK.

In recognition of the importance of Stamford’s conservation stance, SKDC will mark the event with a week of celebrations supported by Bidwells LLP, RIBA, RTPI and Historic England culminating in the council-led Stamford Georgian Festival, which runs from September 21 to 24.

Chris Surfleet, of Bidwells, said: “The introduction of Conservation Areas within the Civic Amenities Act 1967 was a ‘water-shed moment’ for the built environment of the UK. It has had a phenomenal effect, ensuring that some of our best-loved and historic environments have been protected for future generations to enjoy.”

“We are absolutely delighted to be involved in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the introduction of this Act and especially to be supporting Stamford, an exceptional example of what the legislation set out to achieve.”

Steve Ingram, SKDC strategic director for development and growth, said: “This September marks a really important conservation achievement. It’s great to be working with Bidwells and our other partners to celebrate such a milestone.”

In conjunction with the event, Bidwells is running a photographic competition called ‘Spirit of Place’ where entrants are invited to send in a photograph that they feel captures a building or scene that, for them, embodies the ‘spirit’ of an historic place they love. It might be a church spire, a bustling shop or a meandering river.

It is hoped these photographs will capture the diversity of the historic environment in Britain and will form an archive to help celebrate the event.

The competition will be overseen by a panel of judges that includes photographer, Tristram Godfrey. Prizes will be awarded for both the over and under 18 sections and winning images, together with a selection of runners-up, will be shown at the Stamford 50 event on September 21.

To find out more about the photo competition or to book for the conference visit www.bidwells.co.uk