Architecture Update: Erosion of the past

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The Independent Culture
THE Government is accused of failing to respond to growing concern that England's 7,500 conservation areas are being ruined by modern alterations, especially by the replacement of traditional doors and windows. A consultation paper on the subject issued by the Department of the Environment and Department of National Heritage has been described as a 'considerable disappointment' by English Heritage, among other conservation bodies. These groups want proposed alterations to houses in such areas to face the same planning controls as exist for satellite dishes and artificial stone cladding. Under existing conservation area legislation, owners can rip out original features such as ornate arches, original brickwork and sliding sash windows. The Association of District Councils believes that 'there is no question whatsoever that there is a rising level of concern about the damage being allowed to the nation's conservation areas'.