The CLA today (26 August) said continued cuts to the number of conservation officers, highlighted in the Report on Local Authority Staff Resources proves its case for fundamental reform of the heritage system.
CLA Deputy President Harry Cotterell said: “Local authorities control what can be done to heritage. If they don’t have skilled staff, it makes it difficult and often impossible to get consent for the changes needed if heritage is to be viable. This is disastrous for owners and for the long-term future of heritage itself.
“The first survey of staff resources in 2003 showed just how few skilled personnel local authorities have working in heritage. Many had just one skilled person covering thousands of heritage assets, and many had no-one at all.
“This new report highlights how the situation has actually worsened, with the latest figure showing a 28.5 percent decline in skilled resources over the past five years.”
Mr Cotterell said the CLA proposed solutions to the skilled heritage staff problem in its report Averting Crisis in Heritage, published in July this year.
He said: “The CLA report stressed the problems of this scandalous staff shortage. Staff numbers are unlikely to increase so Averting Crisis in Heritage recommended ways to change the heritage system so it matches the resources actually available, and focuses these scarce resources where they are needed most.
“We need action now to secure and increase heritage protection and make the system work efficiently so the loss of heritage for future generations can be prevented.”