§ Ms Mowlam
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations have been received from the London boroughs by(a) English Heritage and (b) his Department in respect of English Heritage's proposal to transfer responsibility for negotiation with owners and developers of listed buildings to them.
§ Mr. Brooke
My Department has no record of direct representations on this issue since I agreed last year to English Heritage's negotiating directly with individual boroughs, with a view to devolving to them the responsibility for determining applications for listed building consent for minor alterations and extensions to grade II listed buildings under "flexible authorisation". I refer to the answer given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Westminster, North (Sir John Wheeler) on 23 April 1993 at columns228–29.
Since then, English Heritage has signed agreements with three of the boroughs where such applications are most frequent—Bexley, Kensington and Chelsea, and Wandsworth. Agreements with the City of London, the City of Westminster and Kingston-upon-Thames are imminent. Discussions are in progress with a number of other boroughs and it is expected that further agreements will be signed over the next year. In addition to devolution of this casework the agreements provide, where appropriate, a measure of financial support for conserva tion staff posts and training. All the remaining boroughs have indicated a willingness to discuss with English Heritage the handling of conservation work and the support that English Heritage could give them.
§ Mr. Brooke
English Heritage was established in 1984. The ratios of professional and technical staff to managers and administrators are as follows:
Professional/Technical Managers/Administration 1984 45 55 1990 48 52 1994 47 53
These ratios exclude custodial and industrial staff.