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Saturday26 July 2014

Heritage campaigners are idiots, says Tory

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A local councillor has branded heritage groups fighting to save a row of houses in Birmingham as “middle class idiots”.

Bodies including the Victorian Society and English Heritage were also accused by Len Clark, a Tory member of the planning committee, of “not living in the real world”.

Campaigners have been fighting to keep the facades of the derelict houses in the Barnsley Road Conservation Area, which takes its name from Ernest Barnsley, one of the architects of the threatened houses.

But Clark said the homes needed to be pulled down because they had become a magnet for antisocial behaviour.

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Readers' comments (10)

  • And he's not middle class?

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  • Alisa Selezneva

    I know who the idiots are, and its not heritage compainers!

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  • When houses are made derelict by local authorities they become the centre of anti-social behaviour. This is nearly always an intended consequence leading to demands for demolition from 'idiots' like Len Clark.
    Picture here (of the buildings, not the "idiot".)
    http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-news/2010/08/27/battle-to-save-historic-homes-on-birmingham-s-hagley-road-65233-27145468/

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  • Alisa Selezneva

    David, thanks for the link...I'm completely speechless...

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  • Only a real idiot would pull down houses because they're "a magnet for antisocial behaviour". I mean, come on, does he think the yobs are attracted to the picturesque massing of gables and turrets?

    The social problems of the area won't be erased with the houses. Restoring them might actually help to restore a bit of civic pride amongst locals, which could only be a step in the right direction.

    Birmingham has probably already lost a higher proportion of its attractive Victorian buildings than any other English city. Does the planning committee have even the slightest comprehension of this?

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  • I don't know the details of your class system, but I know that in north america, no one is middle-class anymore... so sounds like baiting... but about the row-houses, agree with the value to the community. Planning commissions in this part of the world, modelled after UK, are ignored, or in the pockets of the urban planning school of thought, that unconsiously allows buildings to deteriorate badly, so that they have to be pulled down, at the end of the day... tell your banker it will take longer and cost more... but do what you can to preserve evidence, indeed, there once was a middle class.

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  • goosewing

    With a potential listing in the pipeline I'd be wholly unsurprised if they didn't 'spontaneously combust' like so many historic buildings do once they have been disconnected from the utilities and are standing in the way of someones bank balance.

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  • I've checked out the 1988 designation of the conservation area - of 83 questionnaires returned only one was opposed. Maybe that was Mr Clark. Ernest Barnsley has several listed houses to his name. Another wouldn't hurt, if EH could be quick enough, but there's already protection in PPS5 to say that neglecting a building isn't a reason to be allowed to demolish.
    Councillors like this make me proud to be a middle class idiot.

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  • This sort of thing makes me sad - especially when I look at his middle class photo. I expect there is a fat cigar just out of shot. If this sort of thing carries on we'll have very little of historic interest left in this country. We'll just be surrounded by Barratt Homes estates trying to be Poundbury (and that's saying something!), out of town shopping centres with the same old shops, riverside developments based on the same design and Argos / Amazon supersheds.

    These buildings have been empty for as long as I can remember (not sure why as its quite a prime location - apart from the traffic noise) and I'm sure they are in a bad state but even if the facades were kept (a la Chimey Pot Park) it would be better than flattening the site and yet more blandness in its place...?

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  • This will be the same Len Clark who's just the day before this report appeared, accepted £900k from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a museum in Birmingham, will it?
    "Coun Len Clark, chairman of Thinktank Trust, said: 'We are thrilled the Heritage Lottery Fund is helping us to develop this extraordinary new addition to the museum. Birmingham has a rich and diverse heritage....' "

    Read More http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2011/01/19/birmingham-museum-gets-900k-lottery-boost-97319-28010815/#ixzz1CLKn0VTi

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