HC Deb 22 February 1993 vol 219 cc670-1
10. Mr. Austin-Walker

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations he has received arising from consultations on English Heritage's plans to reduce its services on unlisted buildings in London.

Mr. Key

I have received approximately 80 representations on English Heritage's London proposals as a whole, few of them relating specifically to unlisted buildings.

Mr. Austin-Walker

Will the Minister acknowledge that the majority of representations that he has received are opposed to the proposals? Does he recognise that there are many fine buildings in London that do not have listed status? Does he further acknowledge that, outside London, county councils have the overriding responsibility for, and provide much of the special advice to, the district councils? If the proposals are adopted there will be a mishmash-an unco-ordinated approach in the absence of an organisation with overall responsibility for London. Does not such a policy constitute short-sightedness and short-termism of the worst sort? Will not he and his colleagues be condemned by future generations for the destruction of our architectural heritage and London's character?

Mr. Key

That is rather strange, considering the massive growth in the number of listed buildings in the past decade or so. Of course, English Heritage has listened carefully to the representations that it has received. In making the revised proposals, it has taken full account of the responses to its consultation paper. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will endorse English Heritage's final proposals only if he is satisfied that they make proper provision for the safeguarding of London's heritage.

Mr. Jessel

Will my hon. Friend encourage English Heritage in its basic task, which it does well, of preserving and protecting the marvellous heritage of important historic buildings and monuments? That is what future generations will care about.

Mr. Key

Yes. I am grateful to my hon. Friend. One of the most magnificent —Hampton Court—is in his constituency and I know that he takes a great interest in it. English Heritage has performed remarkably well in the decade since it was founded and I have no doubt of its intention to continue to do so.