Strong views on proposed local heritage list

The centre of Rothbury is a conservation area, but there are not that many listed buildings.
The centre of Rothbury is a conservation area, but there are not that many listed buildings.

There were angry exchanges at Rothbury Parish Council’s meeting last Wednesday during a debate on the merits of a local heritage list.

Coun Peter Dawson had put forward the item for discussion, but due to the clashes, he later proposed not progressing it, only for his motion to fail by five votes to two. He subsequently said that someone else could take the proposals forward.

Earlier in the discussion, he had explained that the list would form part of the neighbourhood plan and would allow local people to list, and therefore protect, buildings that weren’t designated by Historic England (formerly English Heritage).

Coun Dawson said that while there was the conservation area in Rothbury, this did not provide much protection and there were far fewer listed buildings than people might expect.

However, while some were supportive of investigating this further, including how it would work, others, such as Couns Avril Graham and Ashley Arkle, were concerned about the principle of imposing listed status on people’s properties, bearing in mind the limitations it then places on owners.

Coun Graham described the proposal as ‘a waste of funds’.

But Coun Steven Bridgett said: “It’s not a waste of money to want to preserve heritage.”

He also said that heritage funding was available.