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Double push for heritage to help with regeneration

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An ambitious English Heritage report calling for a new grants scheme has tied in with a huge new alliance of 20 conservation groups aimed at reversing decades of urban decay.

eh's Conservation-Led Regeneration promises to replace Conservation Area Partnerships, part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In its place will be a new grants system to be unveiled on 26 November.

The message is 're-use it or lose it' and the report's regeneration drive also focuses on drawing in the private sector. Regional directors will explore collaborating with other bodies on ways to encourage private funding and maximise resources. eh also intends to promote use of local materials.

Meanwhile the alliance - including the National Trust, 20th Century Society, Civic Trusts of England, Scotland and Wales and save Britain's Heritage - has pledged to revive historic buildings to regenerate communities.

The declaration, Catalytic Conversion, calls for simplified, unified funding for regeneration to wipe out conflict and confusion, recommends an urgent review of tax with an equal reduced rate of vat for works of repair and alteration, and suggests that a million vacant homes could be found above offices and shops. The alliance wants to push the government into recognising how the historic environment could meet the challenges of urban regeneration and sustainable development.

Both reports are free. Conservation-Led Regeneration from eh customer services, tel: 0171 973 3434. Catalytic Conversion from Richard Pollard, save Britain's Heritage, tel: 0171 253 3500.

save has joined growing opposition to a 16-house development in Stamford, Lincolnshire. Planners met as the aj went to press, but 1000 people have petitioned saying the design by Alan Cotterell Practice is insensitive to a setting used for a recent tv adaptation of Middlemarch.

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