Letter: English Heritage and questions of monumental responsibility

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The Independent Online
Sir: While there are aspects of the English Heritage 'strategy for the Nineties' that are to be welcomed, it none the less proposes radical changes in the manner of our heritage management and gives cause for serious concern.

No doubt it is possible for single monuments to be managed admirably by private and local bodies, although precedents suggest that to ensure adequate safeguards is by no means straightforward. But it is not only the guaranteed protection and management of single monuments that is brought into question: the amassed experience and expertise of English Heritage in compiling and caring for a representative portfolio of national and regional importance, thereby providing an overview, is surely at risk.

This matter will have wider repercussions, not least because of the imminent reorganisation of local authorities which it is proposed will play a key role in the future of these properties. Not only would the portfolio be dispersed to a large number of different bodies, but those bodies themselves face an uncertain future. The strategy document provides an outline only, and it would seem premature to dispute the priorities until full details are published.

We look forward therefore to contributing constructively during the consultation process that is no doubt about to begin.

Yours faithfully,

T. J. P. NIXON

Honorary Chair

Institute of Field Archaeologists

Birmingham

29 October

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