Of course, a building that was designed to be flexible should retain that flexibility, but we can go further than that. Almost all of our historic buildings have been modified to some extent, and in many cases their adaptation is an important component of their historic significance. Designations that protect historic importance should allow adaptation not only to ensure that they stay in use, but because it provides the opportunity to add a further layer of contemporary character. Recognition of historic significance is not the limit of a building’s evolution. Rather it is the starting for point for constructive conservation – valuing what we’ve inherited and adding our own informed and intelligent contribution to the heritage of the future.
Steve Bee, director of planning and development, English Heritage