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English Heritage 'obstructs' new anti-facadism report

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Planning consultant Richard Coleman has accused English Heritage of being 'obstructive' in research he was conducting for a new report advocating a rewrite of PPG15, the planning guidance dealing with the historic environment.

Coleman this week published 'Revise PPG15', a hard look at the government's planning advice which he believes is leading to too much 'facadism' - the facades of old unlisted buildings being retained, manipulated or replicated while new structures are built behind them. 'There's a lot that nobody ever notices or measures because it's behind existing facades, ' Coleman told the AJ. 'PPG15 has become a very secure rock onto which planning officers and conservation officers can lean.'

But Coleman said English Heritage had not been keen. 'English Heritage was obstructive, ' he said. 'I do believe that there was active opposition to my research - people weren't altogether helpful.'

The document makes a series of recommendations, including revising PPG15 to recognise opportunities for historic environments and new design solutions, getting CABE involved and reviewing conservation in planning and design education. It was written with help from Lord Rogers of Riverside, Sir Richard MacCormac and Sherban Cantacuzino and includes 'genuine, but poor conservation/PPG15 practice' from London and other UK cities.

'Buildings shouldn't lie, ' concluded Coleman.

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