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HERs for the 21st Century: 21 Today (Who’s got the key of the door?).

Historic Environment Records Forum Summer Meeting, 2011,
Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham

(Post presentation questions and comments – in italicised type following each abstract – based on notes taken at the meeting and kindly supplied by Keith Elliott, Gloucestershire HER).

Welcome from the Chair
Chris Webster (Somerset County Council HER)

This meeting, again held in the Birmingham and Midland Institute, proved to be extremely popular with over a hundred expected. In the event, three-figures were not reached but it was still the best attendance at a HER Forum meeting by quite a long way. This was due, in no small part, to the subject, the presentation of the results of English Heritage's HER21 project programme. These projects had been organised in great haste last year and had been the subject of much discussion on the HER Forum email list, particularly relating to some of the questionnaires circulated by English Heritage's consultants. After this it had all gone quiet and there was clearly great interest in how the projects had turned out.

Before this was the beta launch of the revised Fish Interoperability Toolkit ably presented by Catherine Hardman. The subject of XML inevitably caused some eyes to glaze over but the benefits of this work will be very apparent when needed. The rest of the day saw presentations by 10 of the 17 HER21 projects grouped into themes. Most of these were necessarily very brief and I'd like to thank the speakers for there conciseness and for (mostly) keeping to time. Abstracts of the presentations are available here and the full reports at  I think that every one will have taken something of interest from one or more of these. Two of the projects that had generated the most heated discussion on the email list were, unfortunately, not presented – examination of the reports will probably show why.
Finally there was a brief discussion about future venues and it was decided that we would hold the next meeting in the same venue, with a more varied programme that will include further updates on the HER21 projects as well as other topics.

 The FISH Interoperability Toolkit

Presentation: Catherine Hardman (Archaeology Data Service);
Abstract: Stuart Jeffrey (Archaeology Data Service)

This paper will announce the online availability of the latest version of MIDAS XML (2.0) and a suite of associated online tools known as the FISH Interoperability Toolkit ( ). MIDAS Heritage ( ) is the UK data standard for information about the historic environment and MIDAS XML is a set of XML ( ) schema that express the MIDAS Heritage standard and allow heritage professionals to share and exchange data on the historic environment in a common format. The Toolkit is comprised of a set of web based applications designed to aid Historic Environment data managers and MIDAS XML users in creating, validating and enhancing their XML data. The Toolkit facilitates the following activities:

MIDAS XML – The heart of the Toolkit is a W3C XML schema which provides a common format for the storage, processing and exchange of historic environment information. It covers all the information currently included in the MIDAS Heritage standard issued by FISH.
The Data Validator Tool – This online application validates the content of MIDAS XML files. The presence or absence of data required by standards such as the English HER Level 1 Benchmark is checked. Reports are issued on compliance and a watermark is embedded in a new XML file for download.
The Concordance Tool – This online application parses two MIDAS XML files to find updated or new records. Reporting consists of description and two automatically generated XML files. The first one consists of only the differences between the two files (ie new or updated records only) and the second one consists of Reference XML file plus new records and updated records.
The Geospatial Tool – This tool reads a valid XML file finds coordinates in OSGB36 format and adds additional spatial elements for the same coordinates in WGS84 format. If the original coordinate format is WGS84 decimal degrees then additional elements in OSGB36 are added.
Toolkit XML Mapping Tool – This tool allows the user to upload their own non-MIDAS XML schema (or sample file) use a visual mapping tool to map between this file and MIDAS XML and then carry out a transformation. The mapping itself is stored in an XSL file under a user specific login for later reuse in this system or it can be exported to allow the transformation to be carried out elsewhere.

Funded by English Heritage’s Historic Environment Commissions programme (HEEP – ) on behalf of FISH, the Interoperability Toolkit is currently hosted by the Archaeology Data Service (ADS – ). Whilst some of the elements of the toolkit are simple to understand and use for most database managers, some elements such as the mapping tool, have rich functionality, which whilst powerful, requires some practice to become comfortable with. Support and training materials are available on line and training for potential users is being put in place by English Heritage and the ADS. The XML Mapping Tool is powered by MINT created via the CARARE (Europeana) project ( ).   

Post-presentation questions and comments: Chris Webster noted that it is ‘once in a blue moon’ that there are opportunities for the provision of XML-based information, and that this seldom appeared within the HER’s role as a data-holder which rarely required the comparison of information.

CH, however, noted that the process was likely to be increasingly used in future. Also the skills set in XML would be helpful for projects such as comparing English Heritage information with HER information. Chris acknowledged that possibilities might lie further down the line in making comparisons between Heritage Gateway hosted information and exchanging information with contractors. 

Introduction to English Heritage’s HER Strategy and HER21 Programme

Sarah Reilly (English Heritage) and Rachael McMillan (English Heritage)

English Heritage, in partnership with ALGAO and IHBC has been developing a strategy to support HERs in achieving HPR consistency.  The Strategy, launched in 2009, is being delivered in phases and will guide the development of HERs till 2015.

The first phase of the strategy included defining an HPR Consistent HER and a review of a raft of previous work relating to HERs, which covered a period almost 10 years from the development of the HER Benchmarks by ALGAO in 2002, through supporting research for the HPR White Paper,  to the publication of PPS5 in 2010.

The strategy is an iterative process and so by reviewing these pieces of work, we were able to start identifying areas where further research, evaluation or development were needed.  The first tranche of this became the HER21 Programme, launched in February 2010 and funded for a period of 12 months.

The HER21 Programme was split into three groups of projects:
• Directed mode, which focused on strategic research and technical issues
• Responsive mode, which focused more on the expansion of content and coverage of HERs
• Local lists – three projects were commissioned specifically to look at the inter-relations between HERs and local lists.  These are due to complete in September 2011.

Four projects were commissioned by tender, due to the specific products required to meet the developing HER Strategy.  Three of these focussed on technical issues: Interoperability between HERs and Local Authority Planning systems; GIS use and standards; Alert and Constraints mapping.  The fourth explored the role of the HER Officer working within a HPR consistent HER.

All the other projects were commissioned in response to applications by project proposal and we encouraged applications that demonstrated integration and partnership between different tiers of Local Government.  These projects explored the following:
• new methods of integrating the full range of historic environment data into HERs
• how to forge effective links with other relevant datasets held outside HERs
• challenges and opportunities presented by increased accessibility to HER data (i.e. on-line)
Overall the scheme set out to explore exemplars, develop transferable methodologies and recommendations for good practice. 

English Heritage is currently evaluating the HER21 projects, as part of the first phase of the Strategy.  The comments and discussion arising from the HER Forum on 29th June is feeding into this process.  The evaluation of HER21 and other associated projects will assist in setting out the direction of the next phase of the Strategy and ensure that it fully articulates the steps needed to move towards HPR consistence.

The HER21 programme has proved to be a huge success and we owe that success to all those who have managed and engaged with the projects, or just responded to the numerous requests for information over the past year. 

A dedicated HER21 HELM web page has been set up and contains the full suite of project reports:

Session 1: HERS and the Planning System

Bob Chell (1 Spatial) and Steven Orr (Land Use Consultants)

This session will present the methodologies and highlights from technical and planning focussed HER21 strategic research projects. This series of projects looked at developing exemplars and good practice to deliver guidance for English Heritage (EH) to identifystrategic goals and action plans for Heritage Protection Reform (HPR). A critical element of this reform is ensuring that useful, appropriate and accurate information is readily available to those making planning decisions about the character and components of the historic environment.

Standards are essential in the production of any resource. They help provide controls for software vendors and end users to address interoperability challenges. They also help facilitate the exchange of data and management of information. It was already recognised that GIS is currently the primary means by which HERs are sharing data. Therefore, existing information standards in heritage (MIDAS Heritage UK Historic Environment Data Standard) and GIS were examined to ensure they could be considered as an effective and practical vehicle for Heritage Asset data exchange.

EH had already acknowledged the significant role that Constraint/Alert Maps have to play in the planning process. A dedicated project assessed the extent to which these are integrated with the local policy framework and produced guidance on how these data products may be developed in the future. Again, their link to standards was considered, as well as observations regarding how they could assist in addressing the interoperability challenges between HER and Planning systems.

Finally, an independent review and analysis of current systems used by HER and Local Planning Authority Officers was undertaken. Emphasis was placed on the practicality of existing systems and techniques, alongside the quality of the data available in the systems. At each stage of the analysis quality controls, based on the MIDAS Heritage UK Historic Environment Data Standard, were applied to ensure that information flowing both between and within the HER and Planning systems could be measured. The project was then able to quantitatively analyse how the HER and Planning Systems rated against the standards, as well as how the data that they manage could be used to complement and improve the Heritage Asset data in the future.

The findings from the research projects have provided EH with an excellent framework of concepts, complementing the Strategic Actions of the UK Location Strategy and assisting EH in driving towards HPR and Linked Data. That framework could even be expanded further to deliver data to meet the INSPIRE directive:
1. “we know what historic environment data we have so we can avoid duplicating it”
2. “we use common reference data so we know we are talking about the same historic environment records and data”
3. “we can share historic environment-related information easily through a common infrastructure of standards, technology, and business relationships”

Post-presentation questions and comments: A delegate (A) noted that problems existed with the IDOX system as used in the recording of planning applications. She observed that she had formed the impression that the system’s managers had no idea of interoperability with other systems nor of data standards and asked was there a role for the IDOX company itself?

BC replied that, in his investigation the IDOX supplier had seen no problem with the system. He had been advised that all relevant information for designated (Scheduled Monuments and Listed Building) sites could be held within the “Historic” module. Bob had specifically asked about the other non-designated heritage assets which HERs deal with day to day, but this had been found to be more problematic for IDOX with little apparent functionality for individual requirements. Having acknowledged this, however, he noted that there are current standards which planning sphere uses which are not followed in the heritage-based world. Concerning GML, IDOX had told Bob that there was no push from the planners for GIS-based information, and that the planners were not regularly using such information.(A noted her willingness to supply such data nonetheless).

Another delegate (B) noted that he had had previous contact with IDOX aimed at tailoring information, particularly regarding constraints, for his LPAs and also concerning site-specific individual updating of information. He had been told that there was no commercial interest in one-off updating or tinkering with the IDOX background information.

A interpreted B’s intention as being to answer queries regarding What? and Where? a site was. If so this was along similar lines to the data that she wished to supply to IDOX. She also felt it would be useful to make occasional additions to the heritage module (for example Listed Building amendments).

BC suggested that the ability to make such additions to the IDOX based information should perhaps lie a higher level than the Planning Portal and that automatic consultation responses could be created. A noted, however, that this was bypassing the planning process and existing consultation systems. B noted that his authority’s existing practice involved consultation back through the IDOX system (though A saw this as problematic if it were IDOX-based alone). B observed that the approach used was case-specific.

Session 2: Data Sharing Within the Local Authority

Four HER21 projects have been selected because they have similarities in their efforts to make HER data accessible across a range of Local Authority types and in particular, to conservation officers. Each project has used different methodologies and design solutions to reach this end result.
Making HER data (or enhanced HER data) available to conservation, archaeological and planning officers has further enabled informed management through planmaking and development management.

• Worcester City Council (Sheena Payne-Lunn)
Worcester City Council digitally captured historic building application records for Worcester, dating from 1865-1948, and assimilated them into the Worcester City HER, for sharing to conservation and planning officers, archaeologists, local historians and the general public.

• Devon County Council (Graham Tait)
Devon County Council examined technologies and working practices to allow historic environment information to be available to partners in district councils, national parks and AONBs. Trials of sharing data via web mapping services and via online maps and databases allowed, for example, conservation officers in a district council to directly see HER data on the web or on their GIS along with their own planning constraint layers.

• Lincolnshire County Council (Mark Bennet)
Lincolnshire County Council enhanced their HER by adding historic building photographs held by district authorities, as well as developed a web-based interface for sharing HER database records and GIS layers with Conservation Officers.

• East Sussex County Council (Casper Johnson) – Unfortunately, no representative from East Sussex is able to attend. However, the full report is available for anyone who is interested.
East Sussex County Council undertook an audit of heritage data used by partner Local Planning Authorities and then developed a pilot GIS heritage map viewer and made that and access to the full HBSMR application available to Conservation Officers colleagues in district and borough authorities.

Post presentation questions and comments: A delegate asked how much use of the Lincolnshire website there was by Conservation Officers. MB noted that there had been teething problems with the website, though this group had started to use the website.

Another delegate asked about the length of time spent validating information submitted to the Lincolnshire website. MB noted that the validation was currently being done on an ad hoc basis and the newness of the website had not yet furnished enough information to indicate how long or much time this would take in the future.

A third delegate asked if it was possible amend data for the website. MB replied that it was.

Session 3: Expansion of Content 1 (Data Population and Use)

Quinton Carroll (Cambridgeshire County Council)

Ecclesiastical Exemption
For nearly two decades a parallel planning process has been in operation on a significant subset of heritage assets, creating assessments, gathering information, drawing on formidable expertise and issuing detailed reports. There is little evidence of this our HERS.
There are an estimated 47000 Christian places of worship in this country (source NCT 2011) of which 14500 are listed. 85% of the listed buildings are Anglican, and the overwhelming majority are exempt from secular listed building control, originally in 1994 and revised in 2010.
Exemption is NOT freedom to act at will: it exists to recognise the unique purpose of listed places of worship, and to enjoy the exemption, a denomination MUST operate a planning system of EQUIVALENCE to secular control.
As a result, Exemption processes must reflect the secular system, as the latter has evolved to increasingly integrate HERs into assessments of significance and the decision making process, so the Exemption procedures operated denominations must do likewise.
This project looked at the operation of the Exemption in Cambridgeshire, and identified ways in which the denominations can most effectively interact with the HER and how the HER can best support the denominations to the same extent as it does the secular system.

Tim Grubb (Gloucestershire County Council)

Integrating Built Historic Environment Records in Gloucestershire
This HER21 project examined the processes required to integrate built historic environment records into the Gloucestershire Historic Environment Record (GHER) and pilot the integration into the HER of data from a selection of these sources. The project was undertaken in partnership with the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) whose project (HER21: Information and partnerships) examined similar issues.
In Phase One the project team met with colleagues in District Councils (Forest of Dean, Stroud, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Cotswold) and the National Monuments Record to discuss current knowledge and understanding of the HER as well as the nature and scope of the project. Phase Two assessed the available sources, examined existing links between HERs and Conservation Officers and identified the sources of information that could be piloted in Phase Three. In Phase Three the Project Officer piloted the addition of data into the HER from a selection of sources. Finally, in Phase Four, the results of the project were analysed and each dataset scored against the four criteria of availability, cost and ease of purchase, time to extract information into the HER and, finally, value to the HER. The project report concludes with an assessment of priority sources and a number of recommendations resulting from the project.

The project indicated that the major source of information for nationally important buildings remains the Statutory List. Next most important were historic OS maps, the VCH and Buildings of England followed by information from magazines and journals. The content of planning casework files proved to be of very low value due to the nature of their storage. Finally, the project identified some sources that, due to their small size, were better dealt with as short pieces of editing work rather than longer term HER enhancement projects.

The project concludes with eight recommendations that are aimed at the Gloucestershire HER, Gloucestershire Conservation Officers and Planning Officers and English Heritage but are equally applicable to the wider HER community.

Oliver Russell (Worcestershire County Council)

The Historic Buildings of Worcestershire
There are around 375,000 Listed Building entries (LBs) in the country.  These buildings are recognised as being of national importance and are given statutory protection, but there are probably at least 10 times as many buildings that date to the 19th century or earlier. It is these unlisted and unprotected buildings that define local distinctiveness.  They are an integral part of the landscape, define the character of settlements and create a sense of place for the people living in them. Including these buildings on the Historic Environment Record (HER) flags up their existence for planners and researchers and allows the information about them to analysed with many other datasets.  The Historic Buildings of Worcestershire Project was set up to create and test a methodology for recording these buildings with the aim of enhancing HER's buildings data.

There were 4 stages within the methodology.  Stage 1 is very rapid and involves overlaying the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey mapping (1880s) over the modern map and marking off all the buildings that appear to be on both maps. Across the County the number of potential buildings identified was 43163.  Stage 2 involves walking around the parish and taking a photograph of every potential historic building.  This includes Listed buildings, as the photograph will provide a condition assessment for buildings already recorded. Stage 3 is the production of a report for each parish with a single photograph of each building and a basic description. Stage 4 involves adding all this new data into the HER.  Each building is digitised to the modern footprint and a record is entered into the database.

Now that the English Heritage funded pilot has been completed and further volunteer led parishes are continuing to be added to the project we have started to look at the results.  As well as the straightforward enhancement of the HER we have found that the data can be very useful when map geographically.  For instance we can clearly see that the underlying geology has a very strong influence on the main building materials used, not necessarily a surprise, but nicely illustrated by our improved data.  Another example is that the identification of possible historic buildings in Stage 1 of the project has led to a distribution map of pre-19th century settlements, and clearly demonstrates the different areas of nucleated and dispersed settlements throughout the County, where due to later development and expansion these characteristics may not be so obvious.

The project has demonstrated that we are able to produce a basic, but consistent record of all historic buildings relatively quickly.  Complete Stage 1 mapping of the County of Worcestershire took 15 days.  An assessment report and guidance documentation can be obtained from English Heritage or Worcestershire HER with more details about the methodology.

Post presentation questions and comments: A delegate (C) noted the disparity between the number of building-based reports that had passed into the hands of the HER compared with the higher number found during Gloucestershire’s trawl of the Tewkesbury Borough planning files and queried why this was. TG replied that there had been little previous contact of the Conservation Officer of that district with the HER.

C asked if this was the situation pre-PPS5? TG replied yes. A noted that further work was evidently required with Conservation Officers to encourage use of HER resources. Tim observed that there was greater use of GIS within the HER than Conservation Officers were accustomed to at district level. Also little enthusiasm for recording buildings in the detail currently employed by the HER had been expressed by the regional Conservation Officers group.

Another delegate (D) asked about the scoring system used during the Gloucestershire/IHBC work. He noted that this system, which scored the more accessible sources highest, seemed to be the reverse of what he would have anticipated (since inaccessibility would seem to imply a greater it’s need for a source’s inclusion, and/or scanning. TG confirmed that accessibility had been one of the main weighting factors for the scoring, the quick addition of information to the HER having been the key consideration. Whilst the creation of scans or locating the more inaccessible sources would undoubtedly be of value it would be time-consuming for incorporation into the HER.

D also asked of the Worcestershire Historic Building Project how the buildings of potential historic interest (about 43000) were identified. Had this been an automatic process carried out with HER information and MasterMap polygons? OR replied that this had been carried out ‘by hand’ with a rapid visual screening of the whole county.

Another delegate asked how long this had taken to complete? Emma Hancox (Worcestershire) replied that this had taken 15 days.

QC was asked if his report was available online. He replied that it, and the others, were to be found on the HELM website.

Another delegate echoed comments made by TG concerning his work in preparing a read-only version of the HER for Conservation Officers. He too had been keen to pass to pass on HER information to COs but had also noted their unwillingness to engage.

Another delegate (E) picked up on a reference made by QC to the ‘Taking Stock’ reports prepared by the Catholic Church. He asked if such reports existed for every Roman Catholic church? QC replied that this work had been carried out on a diocese by diocese basis – with most of the southern dioceses having completed these reports. He also noted that whilst the reports contained full internal and external surveys of the church buildings, fixtures and fittings, they didn’t deal with the archaeological significance of these sites.

E also asked if the survey had dealt exclusively with Listed churches? QC replied that (within the caveats previously expressed) all churches were covered and some reports were available online.

A delegate from English Heritage noted that the better representation of non-Anglican churches, such as these Catholic ones, was a priority for English Heritage resources.

Session 4: Expansion of Content II (Access and Engagement)

Peter Insole (Bristol City Council)

‘Know Your Place’ Learning and Sharing Information about Historic Bristol

‘Know Your Place’ uses ESRI ArcGIS Server 10 with the ESRI Silverlight and JavaScript APIs to provide online access to historic information like the Historic Environment Record (HER) and historic maps dating back to the mid eighteenth century. The site has been developed by officers in Bristol City Council’s City Design Group and Corporate GIS with funding from the English Heritage National Heritage Protection Programme.

As well as providing wider access to historic archives the site also allows local groups and individuals to upload their own information and images directly to the HER.

This unique web tool encourages wider understanding and appreciation of the historic environment through an engaging web interface. The concept for the site forms part of a wider initiative to promote informed design decisions and contribute to neighbourhood improvement. In this respect the website is as widely used by officers in the City Council as it is by members of the public.

‘Know Your Place’ is being used as one of the principle tools for community engagement by the City Design Group as Localism initiatives develop across Bristol.

(A presentation was also made by Paul Cuming (Kent County Council) on Historic Asset Information Management in Kent. Pressure of time has not yet allowed Paul to submit an abstract but it is hope that one will follow at a later stage).   

Post presentation questions and comments: Delegate D (see above) asked how information was added to the Know Your Place website; were text and pictures entered? PI replied that information was entered onto the HER subsequent to his having validated it.

D also asked if guidance on copyright was made available to those submitting information. PI replied that there is a suite of eight documents was provided giving information on the software packages used and also regarding copyright. It was specified on the website that that the information is within the public domain. PI checked of the rights of the individual to contribute such material as far as he could – refusing on occasion – however, the right to contribute such information and images had sometimes to be taken on trust. .

Session 5: Emerging Themes and the Way Forward: A National Perspective

A presentation was made by Dave Batchelor, English Heritage’s Head of Local Authority Liaison for which there is no abstract. 

Post presentation questions and comments: Chris Webster noted that a selection of HER21 projects had been presented today but what was happening with the rest?

DB acknowledged that some of the HER21 projects had yet to be showcased – all were to be made available online through the HELM website, however – with the final submissions being made soon. The subset of HER21 projects which were oriented towards local listing were due for completion at the end of August/start of September and would also be hosted on the same HELM website.

Another delegate suggested it was a pious hope that all the recommendations and guidance to emerge from the HER21 projects would be carried out. Within his own authority – a two-tier organisation with a county-based HER – he noted that the district councils were ‘worming out’ of Service Level Agreements with the county, in particular with regard to archaeology and ecology. He also noted that this was being undertaken in parallel with blatant requests for all HER information for these districts. Thus fragmentation seemed to be under way for the county. DB conceded that a lack of resources existed for local government, HERs and English Heritage. However, whilst collaboration was likely to be problematic in such straightened times it should still be aimed for. Where real partnerships had taken place – and David noted the continuation of practices developed through the HER21 work – there had been notable benefits for all. In some cases, though, there was certainly ‘a history’ to work through.

Delegate B (see above) noted that local government reorganisation within his authority had been a driver for greater HER and Conservation Officer contacts. He also thought that more mundane issues, for example the HER’s familiarity with data structures and queries, were encouraging outside interest. DB noted that local government reorganisation had proved useful driver for greater integration in the past and might well prove equally useful now. Within district authorities a blurring of teams seemed to be taking place, at all levels and between levels.

Concluding Discussion

It was asked why the draft job specification for future HEROs had not featured as a presentation during the day. DB replied that the report was on the HELM website and that many HER staff had already been involved in the questionnaires that were sent out regarding this particular project. The emphasis of today’s forum meeting had been particularly chosen to concentrate upon those elements which had yet to be publicised.

Another delegate suggested that further integration was needed to draw in ecological and landscape-based information and that this would require further interfacing with relevant organisations, probably beyond those which hosted HERs. DB agreed that a wider sphere of landscape-based interests would be beneficial for HERs. He also felt that HERs were ‘ahead of the game’ regarding data content and structures, and echoed B’s point (see above) that this would hopefully provide encouragement for other groups to work with HERs.

The question was raised as to whether there was a timetable for Heritage Protection Reform compliant HERs? Was there a roadmap of any sort? DB replied that the target date was 2015. There was, however, also to be ongoing revision based on the recommendations of the HER21, and other, projects. Targets were still in place to develop a clearer definition of what will be necessary for all by late summer 2011.

Delegate B asked if there was to be any revision for the Benchmarks for Good Practice and allied standards to put them in line with HPR-compliance. He thought that a review of this nature might involve lengthy consultation given the changes afoot throughout local government. DB said yes, the need to review benchmarks and performance indicators had been recognised as had  ; there are already recognised needs and ongoing thinking for where and how, new benchmarks and performance indicators can be applied for HERs to sit within local government. Such indicators needed to be sustainable. DB suggested that this process would be undertaken next year (2012) and saw it as being a high priority. If not 2012 he thought that it would be within the next financial year.

Delegate D (see above) raised the subject of listed buildings coverage in HERs and commented that in his experience Conservation Officer were not particularly interested in non-Listed Buildings, concentrating almost exclusively on  Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas. He asked how HERs might deal with this and how much time and resources should we put in to developing these aspects of the record? DB commented that the focus on buildings of the HER21 programme had been a specific one, a need for more developed building recording – both in terms of Listed, locally listed and non-listed structures – having been previously noted. DB acknowledged that there was now a greater representation of buildings within HERs, resulting both from this project and work done since these earlier surveys. He saw it as important, however, that these priorities for the addition and enhancement of records should be maintained.

Sheena Payne-Lunn noted that relations between the HER and Conservation Officers had in Worcester were already good and that the HER21 project had led to a greater use of the database by COs, sometimes up to 3 to 4 times a day.

It was suggested that English Heritage should make grade III Listed Building information available to HERs. He noted that he had previously obtained this information from the NMR for one district (at a cost of £40.00) and that scanning such information would be a helpful foundation for local lists. Gareth Wilson (English Heritage Project Officer, Local Engagement) noted that the local list projects hadn’t yet specifically looked at the value for these for the further augmentation of local lists and/or HER entries.

Another delegate mentioned that he had tried to obtain such information for his area as the basis for a local list. He had been told that such information was not available by the NMR enquiry staff.

Nick Davis (English Heritage) confirmed that the NMR did hold the ‘provisional lists’ which covered grade III buildings. He was uncertain, however, how comprehensive the coverage was. These were paper-based lists and would have to be consulted in the Swindon EH office. He also noted, however, that they were held with supplementary documentation which indicated that a proportion of III listings had either been subsequently upgraded or demolished. CW commented that it was evident that not all enquiries staff at the NMR necessarily knew of these records.

TG suggested that English Heritage might carry out a project to identify where grade III paperwork survived in the NMR. DB agreed and suggested that Gareth Wilson might pursue this