Rescue have written to Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP in response to the latest round of cuts. This is an issue which Rescue have been campaigning on for many years. However, the cuts to heritage have certainly accelerated, with recent high profile victims being the imminent closure of Lancashire County Council’s Historic Environment service, the closure of the Snibston Discovery Centre by Leicestershire County Council and the sudden closure, in the wake of a funding crisis, of Bede’s World Heritage centre in Newcastle.
The closure of more local authority and other museums and heritage centres is having a clear effect on the access of locals and visitors alike to cultural and educational services. The pressures on local authority museum storage, for archaeological archives, is leading to the discard of archaeological material “the very data which we use to write the past”. The closure of local authority Historic Environment services has meant that many local authorities are unable to meet their obligations under the National Planning Policy Framework, threatening the very nature of heritage protection in England.
Our impression, gained from many years of monitoring the work of local and national government, is that we are very close to a situation in which it will no longer be possible to claim that England has a comprehensive or effective framework for the protection, enhancement and presentation of our national heritage.
Read our full letter below: