Built Heritage Conference 27 April 2012
DOE hosts UK wide conference on built heritage
DOE today hosted a UK
wide conference to highlight the crucial importance that regenerating our Built
Heritage has on contributing to social and economic development.
Entitled ‘Opening Doors to the Future’, the conference was organised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in partnership with Armagh City and District Council and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust.
Speakers from across the UK attended the event in the Armagh Planetarium.
In delivering his keynote address, Minister Attwood said: “I have a firm conviction about the purpose of the Department of the Environment – it is to be the leading Environment Ministry and a leading Economy Ministry. That is its twin track role. It is against this that I and the Department of the Environment should be judged.
“This Conference is part of the outworking of this approach. The scale and character of the built, natural, archaeological and Christian heritage of Northern Ireland is more than any part of these islands. We are blessed. Our built and natural heritage is what makes life here of great quality and is the single most significant element in attracting tourists, increasing tourist spend and growing tourist jobs.
“If we are to grow tourism to a £1billion a year industry, with the jobs and opportunities that follow, we must both protect and positively develop the built and natural heritage. This is one purpose of this Conference, to demonstrate how the built heritage can contribute to sustainable economic development.
“The second purpose is how to help all people, particularly the young, take ownership of our built and historic environment. Thanks to all the schools who took part in our competition, you can see the results here today.
“Today is a signpost to the future where we value and respect more our built environment and where we positively develop our built heritage. These are great challenges and opportunities, but ones we are and can measure up to.”
The Prince’s Regeneration Trust was involved in the award–winning regeneration of Conway Mill in the Falls Road Belfast and is currently working with Armagh City & District Council in the regeneration of Armagh Gaol.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust said: “Heritage buildings are opportunities not obstacles. It’s important to have a creative mindset, to think outside the box and to recognise what the reuse of such buildings can deliver in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits for their communities. The Armagh Gaol project is a great example of this. Quite often sustainable re–use is the catalyst for further economic regeneration in some of our hardest hit regions, literally bringing communities together.”
Councillor Freda Donnelly, Mayor of Armagh City and District commented: “There is a rich heritage infrastructure in Armagh and the Council wishes to work with its partners to protect, enhance and share these assets. The Gaol Project actively delivers regeneration through heritage and will not only promote economic growth but will also strengthen Armagh’s position as a place of significance.”
Please also visit http://www.nienvironmentlink.org/built-heritage/ for further information on Build Heritage