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Prince Charles calls on councils to revamp historic buildings

The Prince of Wales has pleaded with local authorities to view old buildings as regeneration opportunities rather than burdens

Speaking at a symposium for council chiefs held at St James’s Palace yesterday, the prince suggested old buildings could be used for housing.

He told the conference, which included people from voluntary groups and the private sector, to ‘see them not as a problem but an opportunity’ and ‘as a real focus for possible regeneration’.

The joint event saw the Local Government Association working with the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, which works on finding new uses for heritage buildings.

The Prince said the government of the early 80s had earmarked many sites as useless, ranging from old army barracks and dockyards to psychiatric hospitals built in the 19th century.

He said: ‘We look at [them] as somehow a waste - we must get rid of them because they’re no longer relevant, they’re no longer useful, just replace them with bright shiny new things.’

He urged planners to see historic buildings as important and said it was simpler to make them suitable for new uses than modern buildings.

He added: ‘And just think, we’ve got - what? A huge housing problem, a huge problem of affordable housing. Many of these places are absolutely ideal for creating residential accommodation, at different levels of income.’


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