English Heritage leads the sector in a positive, well-informed and collaborative approach to conservation that we call 'Constructive Conservation'. The aim is to recognise and reinforce the historic significance of places, while accommodating the changes necessary to make sure that people can continue to use and enjoy them.
The conservation movement has evolved from a reactive process, focusing on preventing change, into a flexible process of helping people to understand their historic environment and through that understanding, to manage change to it in the most appropriate way.
The best way to save a building is to find a new use for it. Even recently restored buildings that are vacant will soon start to degenerate again. An unreasonable, inflexible approach will prevent action that could have given a building new life.
Modern conservation involves having a more thorough understanding of what makes a site important and working collaboratively with owners and developers to find that new use. As part of our constructive approach we work collaboratively with architects and developers at early pre-application stages to help them to make decisions based on a full understanding of their site. We use 'Conservation Principles' to make sure that our advice is reasonable, knowledgeable and consistent.