The Local Register is the ‘new’ name for the Local List which was initiated last year. The first round of buildings to be ‘listed’ now form the basis for this new Register. At the time ‘foul’ was called when it appeared that some areas were over-represented on the list to the exclusion of others in terms of items to be listed and accepted.
If you sent in any items for inclusion and they were not selected, do not despair since the Newcastle Borough Council is calling for more items to be included this year – deadline August 2011. Hopefully this time a more equitable way of judging items will have been drawn up and implemented.
The idea of a Local Register is a good one, since not all buildings, features and monuments etc., close to a community’s heart can be listed or protected by English Heritage, neither are they covered if they are not in a Conservation Area. It was thus understood that being ‘registered’ would give such buildings / monuments / features etc. within a neighbourhood some protection, particularly against developers who appear to be
less than sentimental when it comes to removing anything that gets in the way of their development.
Unfortunately, we are told that this is not the case and being Registered does not necessarily protect an item. It means, only, that when a planning application is made note will be taken of any item which has been Registered and which may be endangered by the plan. In essence this means that it will be up to the NBC Officer in charge of the proposal to judge the importance of the item to be removed by the developer. This could be a stumbling block since not all Officers are au fait with some of the landmarks that residents hold dear within their neighbourhoods.
Residents in Thistleberry are still fighting the decision by Officers, both paid and elected, to remove the historic bridge parapet wall on the A525 which was replaced by a metal crash barrier by the developer, and people of Newcastle borough still smart when the demolition of the Municipal Hall is mentioned (which was replaced by a 1960s concrete block with little or no architectural merit and even less aesthetic value!).
At the moment we wait to see how this Register will pan out in practice. The only recourse for residents is to keep a close eye on planning issues and to lobby really hard for the preservation of those buildings that deserve to be kept for posterity – and there aren’t many of those left in Newcastle.
The Civic Society exists to protect the best of the built environment that the Borough has to offer.
Use it or lose it!
The list to date can be seen on the NBC web site.
To include a new item an application form has to be completed and photographs and a history of the items have to be included if it is to be considered by the ‘judges’.
Don’t delay – do it now !