I recently attended a meeting at which it was stated that Ipswich was
still demolishing its Listed buildings. I found this astonishing,
remarkably ill-informed and frankly an insult to all those owners,
occupiers, councillors and council officers as well as local bodies like
the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, Ipswich Building Preservation Trust
and English Heritage who over recent years have worked so hard to
conserve the heritage of the town. I then thought that perhaps we have
not made the official position clear enough and that the statistics
might be of interest to Society members who might also care to challenge
such myths when they encounter them.
Controls on demolition of Listed buildings were admittedly weak after
the war (when the numbers of officially protected buildings were much
lower) but have become progressively more effective as we approach the
present day. Two key local turning points were the Council's 1974
designation of the Central Conservation Area and the 1987 Conservation
Strategy, which has been followed ever since.
The Conservation Service has evaluated the loss of every Ipswich Listed
building since 1955 and the figures are as follows;
- 1955-1964 : 18 demolished
- 1965-1974 : 22 demolished -- Central Conservation Area declared in 1974
- 1975-1984 : 4 demolished
- 1985-1994 : 4 demolished
- 1995-2004 : Nil
- 2005-2008 : Nil
We have therefore lost just eight protected historic buildings in 33
years (two in the same fire in 1992 in Butter Market) and none in the
last fourteen years. Since 1987 the number of buildings at-risk (of
demolition) has been reduced from 44 to three. In the period 1980 to
2008 an additional 96 buildings have been added to the Statutory List
(43 of them in a Government review of the statutory List in 1994).
I hope readers will find these figures informative.
Bob Kindred, MBE, Conservation & Urban Design Manager, Ipswich Borough Council