To preserve physical fabric by ‘freeze framing’ an existing situation could be seen as simplistic and narrow -minded. Such an approach may not give proper recognition to the history of change and its meaning for people. Whilst erasing chapters of our past to create new ones risks losing a piece of history and people’s memories associated with it, resisting change would deny future generations the opportunity to add their own history. There needs to be a balance between preserving the past and building a future.
What is evident is that the balance does not exist with conservation management regimes that are inconsistent across our political and planning landscape; what is accepted in one area will fail elsewhere. We live in a diverse and complex society and there is a need to develop a more sophisticated understanding of our present to better recognise the meaning that places hold for people and how to manage both.
By Alison Worlledge