Conservation in Staffordshire

Conservation in Staffordshire is obviously a matter of concern to all members and those who heard Alan Taylor, the County Chief Conservation Officer, address the Society on Tuesday 21st June were well rewarded by the content and quality of his presentation. Many of us were surprised by the extent of the department's interest and responsibility. The County is the largest single owner of buildings and structures, ranging from the Shire Hall to bridges and milestones. There are 70 listed bridges within the county and even more listed milestones and posts. Unusual structures like the neo-classical monuments in Shugborough Park and the more familiar and closer-to-home Lichfield Library and Lichfield College all require maintenance and care.

Archaeology, the use and re-use of old buildings, co-operation with local councils, private owners, English Heritage and Civic Societies all play a part in the conservation process. The County has an educational role and actively seeks to stimulate pride and to raise political consciousness. Specialist studies are carried out, such as the Survey of Timber-Framed Buildings in Lichfield and a county wide survey of Non-Conformist Chapels.

Showing slides of a variety of Lichfield shop-fronts, Mr Taylor drew attention to a number of planning successes as well as some failures; he placed a question mark over some current refurbishments, delaying opinion until completion.

A lively question time concerning the impact of tourism and population growth was cut short as time ran out but these issues must continue to be a matter for our concern.

Ivor Mitchell
June 1988