I don’t believe that English Heritage see income from gift shops as more important than conserving heritage assets. However, sadly, I do believe that money – or more specifically fear of losing funding – played a key part in the decision to press ahead with a visitor centre at the base of Clifford’s Tower.
As one of the three planning committee members who opposed the approval, I believe there were clear planning grounds to decide that the visitor centre will have an unacceptably harmful effect on this internationally famous and iconic grade 1 listed building in the conservation area.
I agree with a long list of other heritage organisations that a visitor centre should be located away from the tower as part of a properly designed public park. I was told we can’t wait for this to happen as part of the Southern Gateway Project because Government has time-limited the money for the whole project – part of plans to make English Heritage self-funding by 2022. Personally, I don’t believe we should have allowed this commercialisation of our heritage to have influenced such a key planning decision.
Cllr Denise Craghill, Green Party member for Guildhall ward