Save Birmingham City Council Conservation Department: Sign the Petition

March 17th, 2010

Save Birmingham City Council Conservation Department

Note the actual petition link is now just below, for ease of

access. Reasons for signing follow.

Click here now to sign the petition. It is easy. (By all means add a comment, if you wish, but it is also fine to leave the comment space blank.) Sign the Statement

Note: we are not possessive of this petition! Please feel absolutely free to Tweet it on Twitter, Flog it on Face Book, Stick it up on The Stirrer Mail it to The Mail, post it to The Post, Bang it on your own Blog, or just email it to your friends. Lets get as many signatures as possible.

Why Sign?

Great concern has now been expressed by Birmingham’s conservationists at the 23rd February 2010 Council approved Budget plan to disband Birmingham City Council Conservation Department, in order to save £350,000 a year. Here is one recent piece in The Birmingham Post:

Fears For Birmingham\’s Historic Buildings if Conservation Group is Disbanded

The Council has a ‘Conservation Panel’ of local conservationists who work with the Conservation Department. The Chair of this panel, Cllr Paula Smith was, herself, so concerned at the plans to disband the Department that she went against her party in abstaining from voting for this measure. Birmingham’s Conservation officers are highly trained and experienced not only in Conservation work, but, more specifically in Conservation work in Birmingham. They know the history of the areas they work with, and they know many of the active voluntary conservationists among the residents; residents who are used to being able to contact the Conservation Department with their concerns and speak to ‘their’ local officers.

There have now been assurances that Birmingham’s Conservation officers will continue but they will be ‘absorbed’ into the general Planning Department. This is unlikely to be satisfactory. There seems a real danger that much of the time conservation officers will no longer be engaged on conservation work, at a time when we are already seriously behind on city conservation projects. Very recently Acocks Green councillors and concerned residents were told that plans to designate an area in Acocks Green as a Conservation Area had been put back from six months to eighteen months, because of the huge backlog of work, and other projects in the pipeline. This is not just about Acocks Green, though. This is a city wide petition. How much Conservation work will happen anywhere in the city after the disbanding of the Department. How many of our fine buildings will we now lose?

11 Responses to “Save Birmingham City Council Conservation Department: Sign the Petition”

  1. […] Birmingham: It's Not Shit loves Birmingham and has loads of news and features. If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed.Great concern has now been expressed by Birmingham’s conservationists at the 23rd February 2010 Council approved Budget plan to disband Birmingham City Council Conservation Department, in order to save £3050,000 a year. [link] […]

  2. Colin Troth says:

    A disgrace if disbanded our heritage is under more threats than ever.

  3. paul smith says:

    So, let me get this straight No on is being made redundant the conservation officers will still be conservation officers but will be working as conservation officers under the general umbrella of the planning department but by getting rid of the conservation department the are going to save £305,000 it doesnt quite seem possible somehow perhaps i am being Naive

    • Julia says:

      Hi Paul

      It is actually 350,000 not £305,000 – typo that was corrected yesterday, but sorry! However, in answer to your main point, I think we can assume that if the conservation officers are absorbed into the main planning department, as Cllr Neville Summerfield is suggesting, they will NOT be working all the time as conservation officers. This is where the saving is likely to come in. Acocks Green initially understood that there would be a Conservation Area in Acocks Green, in six months. This became more than eighteen months. The Conservation Department have now been told that their current eighteen month work program is ‘optimistic’ in the present climate. We have been advised that this ‘… will also have an impact on any future designations etc, such as Acocks Green.’

  4. Michael Starkey says:

    An absolute travesty. We should be treasuring our heritage in Birmingham, not treating it as an inconvenience, which is what the Council appears to be doing with these cuts.

  5. […] Save Birmingham City Council Conservation Department: Sign the Petition | Acocks Green Focus Group – Great concern has now been expressed by Birmingham’s conservationists at the 23rd February 2010 Council approved Budget plan to disband Birmingham City Council Conservation Department, in order to save £350,000 a year. […]

  6. Janet Partridge says:

    We need to support our conservation department – we know only too well that merging them into the general planning deoartment means that they will cease to have any future role using their particular skills. It will be a travesty.

  7. You commented on an FOI request I sent to Birmingham City Council about their planned cutbacks and possible disbanding of the Conservation Department altogether.

    As someone who write for an environmental news website, Birmingham Recycled, I found the issue to be one of interest and concern. What will happen to Birmingham’s many conservation areas if the department that deals with them vanishes?

    They responded back to be and seem to think that if a department restructure happens then the conservation officers expertise won’t be lost and will still be put to good use. Thought you might want to have a look at exactly what they sent me http://tinyurl.com/yyo2d8u

  8. Graeme Collins says:

    Are our miserable politicians failing us yet again?

    How many times have they betrayed the trust of us, the electorate, on matters we hold dear to our hearts? I love the city I grew up in, and am sick of our politicians not have the guts and commitment to do what we elected them for.

    Not only do we need a Conservation Department, we need a strong representation from us, the people who really care, so that we can steer decisions. Individual gems of our architectural heritage are becoming severely endangered through a lack of will by the council – Moseley Art School, Moseley Road Baths, The old Moseley Road Tram Station – all abandoned to become further ruined by a lack of maintenance.

    • Julia says:

      Hi Graeme

      We agree that what is happening is heartbreaking. As you say, it is becoming clear that we need good local organisation. It seems it will be down to Birmingham groups to work with, and support what will be left of the Conservation Department – two officers -good ones but there were eight! – but they will need well organised groups and all our help … guess Birmingham Conservationists need to stick together! Any more thoughts anyone?

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