Council Leader David Renard stated in his column in the Advertiser this week that 'the council works very closely with heritage groups within the town' but there are many volunteers who would refute this assertion.
Cllr Renard was answering claims that Swindon Borough Council neglects heritage assets following the disastrous fire at the Coate Agricultural Museum on New Year's Eve.
He concluded his column with the following statement: 'Unfortunately, the passage of time does not make it easy to bring these buildings back to their former glory, but that does not mean we should not try. Letting our heritage fall by the wayside is not on our agenda.' Well sadly Cllr Renard, many of us feel it is.
Save Swindon’s Heritage, a new facebook group formed following council tenant GLL’s announcement to develop part of the historic Health Hydro, a Grade II listed building, has registered more than 720 members in just 9 days.
The listing of buildings came out of a WWII measure to record important buildings in possible danger from enemy bombing, but it would appear that in Swindon it's not an aerial attack we have to worry about but something a little closer to the ground.
It was the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act that came up with the concept of a list of buildings of special historical or architectural importance. Buildings built between 1840-1914 have to meet a stringent criteria before inclusion on the list is granted.
Perhaps the greatest protection offered to a listed building is that its future fate is in the public arena. An owner must receive permission for any intended alteration and this allows for a public debate. Comments and objections must receive due consideration before planning decisions are reached.
A register of locally listed buildings is available for consultation at the council planning department and Central Library and online at Listed Buildings in Swindon.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the British Listed Building register established to protect buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. In Swindon we have more than 650 buildings on the register with 53 scheduled monuments and three registered parks and gardens.
If you want to know more about the listing of historic buildings come along to a talk by Martin Newman at Swindon's Central Library, Tuesday January 17 at 7.15.
|Lydiard House - Grade I|
|Central Community Centre, former Medical Fund Hospital - Grade II|
|Health Hydro - Milton Road Baths - Grade II|
|St Mary's Church, Lydiard Park - Grade I|
|Coate Agricultural Museum following a fire on New Year's Eve|