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EXPERIENCE TO DO THE JOB SHOULD COUNT MORE

LETTERS

I write in support of Ian Salisbury's campaign to remove the English Heritage and Heritage Lottery Fund requirement that architects in receipt of their grants be drawn from the Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC).

I am a member of the register but only joined because I feared losing historic building projects, despite having a Diploma in Conservation Studies from York and 25 years' of experience.

Many other architects, particularly those who have quietly spent a lifetime looking after historic buildings, in particular churches, face losing work because the time and expense involved - and sometimes their age - puts them off applying. Their clients, if receiving EH and HLF grants as they often do, then lose trusted and eminently capable architects they have worked with for years.

It is not necessary to have the AABC. All that should be required is that the architect is able to demonstrate an appropriate level of experience and knowledge - and neither the philosophy of conservation, nor the technical aspects, are necessarily absolutes.

In fact, they are debatable. Anyone who heard Freddie Charles, an exponent of timber-frame conservation, and Cecil Hewitt, a leading historian of timber framing, argue the dating of timber frame buildings from their jointing techniques, will know what I mean.

Nick Allen, director, Allen Tod Architecture

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