Champion to raise profile of conservation and museums service

Winchester City Council's Historic Environment Champion, Cllr Patricia Stallard, says she is placing conservation issues and the City's heritage high on her list of priorities.

"I am keen to give a higher public profile to the positive contribution made by the Council's conservation and museum services," she said. "The historic environment is a finite resource and Winchester is fortunate to have one which is so rich and diverse."

As Historic Environment Champion Cllr Stallard will play a central role in protecting the unique buildings and archaeology of the district. "The historic environment is more than just standing buildings and street scenes, however - it also includes the well preserved and nationally significant archaeology beneath our feet," she said.

Her appointment by the Council's Cabinet comes in response to an initiative by English Heritage, the Government's statutory adviser on the historic environment.

"Over the years the Council has drawn up a series of sensitive planning and conservation policies to protect these surroundings and other new initiatives are in the pipeline," said Cllr Stallard. 

"Conservation area appraisals are planned for two of the district's most eye-catching villages, and a survey of redundant farm buildings is being piloted to try to identify possible new uses for them and so halt long term disuse and decay. 

"New pages on the Council's website are being developed to reflect the work of the conservation service, including information about the district's imperilled buildings which are recorded on the official Buildings at Risk register each year," she added. 

Principal Conservation Officer Richard MacCullagh said: "The Council plays a fundamental role in both managing and caring for the historic environment but this can all too often be taken for granted.  The appointment of a Champion will help raise the profile of the challenging work we do and, we hope, create new opportunities for enhancing and promoting our heritage."

Head of Cultural Services Eloise Appleby added: "Our conservation officers take a proactive approach to promoting the historic environment - for example, by leading tours during National Architecture week, by contributing ideas for the Winchester Open Weekend programme, and by working with museums colleagues to produce the recent Meon Valley Churches walking and cycling trail leaflet."

Following discussions with noted local architect Huw Thomas, a district-wide conservation panel of independent experts will be established early in 2007 to help formulate sympathetic policies and procedures in partnership with the Council.

Cllr Stallard is looking forward to liaising with officers, residents, conservation professionals and amenity groups in the district on a regular basis.  She can be contacted on email at or on tel 023 9225 1484.