The importance of historic farm buildings

Three farm buildings

Thanks to Amanda Smith from English Heritage and member of the Environment Group for providing this guest post.

Historic farm buildings make a fundamental contribution to the landscape character and local distinctiveness of the region, and are an important part of our cultural heritage. They also represent a significant asset in terms of their capacity to adapt to accommodate new uses.

Traditional farm buildings, however, are under great pressure for change due to the restructuring of the agricultural industry and the high demand for their adaptive re-use, especially for housing. Only a small proportion of the historic farm building stock is subject to listing and statutory protection, and national studies have demonstrated that these designated assets have already undergone significant change.

Until recently there was a lack of an evidence base on the character and condition of the whole stock of historic farm buildings (not just designated assets) on which to inform the sensitive management of change and the effective targeting of conservation resources.

English Heritage is leading a collaborative project that will develop an evidence base for historic farmsteads across the West Midlands region.

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Securing a healthy natural environment for today and the future

The most recent meeting of the Observatory’s Environment topic group reviewed evidence to “Identify Regional Natural Environmental Priorities for the West Midlands”. Evidence highlighted by the group will inform work by the region’s Defra Agenda Group (DAG) to identify regional environmental priorities. The DAG comprises Government Office for the West Midlands, the Environment Agency, Natural England, Forestry Commission, Advantage West Midlands and Animal Health.

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