Conservation expert gives excellent talk to Berwick Civic Society

Ian McCaffery, who was appointed building conservation officer at Northumberland County Council last year, was the guest speaker at Berwick Civic Society following the AGM.

Thursday, 17th May 2018, 8:57 am
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He expressed concern at the declining state support for heritage with less money available for grants and the decreasing number of conservation specialists in local planning authorities. He said that it is important to bear in mind that heritage is a significant contributor to the national economy.

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Mr McCaffery talked of the how Berwick has approximately 250 listed building entries and it being designated a conservation area in 1970, with Tweedmouth in 1991 and Spittal in 1995. He suggested that ‘forces of gentrification’ are at work in Berwick, making reference to Ravensdowne, which was named, in The Telegraph in 2015, as one of Britain’s 10 smartest streets.

He said it was wrong to think that new buildings in historic areas should necessarily be traditional in style. He also challenged the view that UPVC looks the same as timber and grey PPC aluminium is a cutting edge modern material, later to express sympathy with some members of the audience’s criticism of recently-built buildings in the Walkergate area.

Zoreen, Lady Hill thanked Mr McCaffery for his excellent talk and said that conservation in Berwick was in safe hands.