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February 29, 2012

Only Heritage Preservation Can Keep Britain Great

By Spear's

Keeping Britain Great One of the reasons that David Cameron and George Osborne were in Davos was to attend a British tea party at Schneider’s Cafe the Fortnum’s of Davos hosted by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and model Lily Cole and attended by such billionaires as the Mittal family.

Keeping Britain Great
   

ONE OF THE reasons that David Cameron and George Osborne were in Davos was to attend a British tea party at Schneider’s Cafe — the Fortnum’s of Davos — hosted by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and model Lily Cole and attended by such billionaires as the Mittal family.

‘In 2012, there is only one place to be,’ declared this glitzy tea-party invite, which was emailed to attendees. ‘Britain will host the Olympic Games in London this summer and the greatest show on earth will arrive in one of the world’s greatest cities.’ The party was to promote Cameron’s new £39 million GREAT Britain campaign. The invite added that the campaign was to encourage visitors to take a ‘fresh look’ at everything Britain has to offer as one of the best places in the world to visit, live, work and do business.

A critical part of this campaign is marketing Britain’s heritage as a main reason for coming to Britain, which is why giant video ads of some of Britain’s most famous historical attractions — including Stonehenge, Henry VIII and the dreaming spires of Oxford — are being splashed across huge screens at the airports of Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo. Anybody staring up at the vast images dazzling the citizens of Rio could be forgiven for thinking that Britain’s heritage industry had the full support of the government.

However, as we at Spear’s have pointed out with our Save Britain’s Historic Landscape Campaign, what the ads are not telling the world is that Britain’s heritage industry is under serious threat from its own planning system, with an increasing number of iconic buildings and historic sites now at peril because of new planning laws.

What is disturbing is the extent to which our ‘heritage assets’ — to use the term now favoured by planning authorities — are now being sold off, as at Naseby, right beneath our very noses, to large foreign owned conglomerates whose CEOs may enjoy showing up for tea with David Cameron at Schneider’s in Davos but who really care very little indeed for what make Britain great.

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