Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow will tomorrow challenge ministers to change government policy to give communities greater powers to save their heritage buildings. Sparked by her involvement in the campaigns to save the listed Walthamstow Dog Track and the former EMD cinema, she has secured a parliamentary debate on heritage policy at Westminster Hall in which ministers will be forced to address these topics.

Speaking ahead of the debate tomorrow, Stella said:

“Heritage policy shouldn’t be seen as only concerning the existence of castles, palaces, churches and stately homes – it’s about the way in which our historic environment shapes the future of the communities in which we live. Yet we know first-hand in Walthamstow that currently the regulations are limited in what they can do to help save our Dog Track and our cinema. In both cases the owners of precious local listed assets have held on to them in the face of strong local opposition, leaving them to deteriorate markedly as deadlock about their future ensues. This isn’t just a problem for Walthamstow – in the last ten years English Heritage and the Secretary of State have only been able to issue one urgent repairs notice to protect such buildings, leaving local communities with only planning law as protection for our cultural heritage.

This debate goes to the heart of why heritage matters not only for the historical identity of our towns and cities, but for the future regeneration of our society. I hope to convince the Minister to turn warm words on preservation into powers to act so communities like ours can do more than stand by and watch as our architectural and social gems decompose.”

ENDS

Notes
·         The debate, entitled “the future of heritage assets”, will take place in Westminster Hall at 11.30am on Tuesday 7 June 2011.
·         To find out more about the campaign to restore the EMD Cinema, visit http://mcguffinfilmsociety.wordpress.com/. On the dog track visit http://saveourstow.wordpress.com/.



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