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Debate is backbone of listed buildings system

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David Taylor makes continuity sound like a revolution (AJ 29.11.01). The government decides what buildings are listed and this will remain the case.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is required to seek the advice of English Heritage on listing matters (and accepts 99 per cent of our proposals), but has always been free to seek the views of others. Since the mid-1990s all post-war candidates for listing have been subject to wide public consultation.

A formal role for CABE is to be welcomed as another perspective on the importance of design and innovation in the built environment. This decision by the department does not mark a change in policy. CABE and EH work together (on English Heritage's Urban Panel, for example) to ensure new development in towns and cities is informed by a full understanding of the historic context.

Issues such as these form the subject of English Heritage's most recent Conservation Bulletin (No 41, September 2001), to which I commend readers who would like to know more about our current approach to urban and design matters.

Dr Martin Cherry, director of national programmes, English Heritage, London W1

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