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UCLan students help to preserve local heritage

03 December 2012

Lyndsey Boardman

Students team up with Preston City Council to survey protected buildings

Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have teamed up with Preston City Council to survey local protected historic buildings as part of a national scheme run by English Heritage.

Over ten Building Surveying and Building Conservation students worked closely with the council to complete Heritage at Risk surveys of listed building around the city, focusing on properties in the Fishergate Hill Conservation Area.  The aim of the scheme was to update the Local Planning Authority’s database of heritage assets and identify any problems that could potentially be resolved in the future.

The students had to note down the materials used in the buildings’ construction, the levels of maintenance they have received and the risks of deterioration. The special significance of the buildings was also evaluated. 

UCLan Architectural Technology graduate Bruce Johnson takes part in the Heritage at Risk survey

The information collected can also be used to help communities build up a picture of their local neighbourhood, encourage local people to become actively involved in building conservation and ensure that public funding is directed towards the most needy cases.

"This exercise not only benefitted the Planning Department through information collection but has helped form working partnerships providing an exchange of knowledge, skills and experience.”

Preston City Council Conservation Officer Diane Vaughton commented: “The students’ work was very thorough, consistent and completed to a high standard. This exercise not only benefitted the Planning Department through information collection but has helped form working partnerships providing an exchange of knowledge, skills and experience.”

UCLan Architectural Technology graduate Bruce Johnson took part in the Heritage at Risk survey and is currently studying for a Masters in Building Conservation and Regeneration. Bruce completed a work placement with Preston City Council as part of his studies and now works for Dickinson Waugh Architecture Ltd in Cheshire. Dickinson Waugh are headed up by Danny Waugh, himself a graduate of the MSc Building Conservation programme at UCLan.

“The survey raises awareness of the problems and threats our local heritage faces. Buildings in the Fishergate Hill area are often of high quality and contribute to significance of the local area."

Bruce commented: “The survey raises awareness of the problems and threats our local heritage faces. Buildings in the Fishergate Hill area are often of high quality and contribute to significance of the local area.

“I learned a lot during my placement at Preston City Council and that along with other placements gave me a foot-hold into industry, I also made a lot of new contacts and met people within local authority that I will work with professionally for years to come.”

UCLan final year Building Surveying student Leyla Green also took part in the project whilst studying part-time and working for a construction training company.

She said: “It’s been a great learning process; the perfect way to apply theory to practice and become more comfortable with the terminology used in paperwork. On the back of this work with Preston City Council I have secured a placement with the Canal and Rivers Trust so it’s been very worthwhile.”