Constructive Conservation: 7 Truths About Heritage and the Positive Impact On Our Economy

Richard Stocking
Conservation & Heritage is becoming increasingly significant in today’s economy.

According to Visit Britain, over 29% of all visits to the UK included trips to castles or historic houses, added to this in 2015 the UK was ranked 3rd for contemporary culture, 5th for historic buildings and 6th for cultural heritage (out of 50 nations). We are considered a world class destination for culture and heritage.

Delivering constructive conservation and preserving our built heritage is important. Not just to remember and share the stories of our past, but to engage and retain that knowledge so future generations from all over the world, not just the UK can learn and enjoy them. But perhaps even more significant is the growing investment, and impact to our economy of this market.

Historic England’s latest suite of Heritage Counts 2016 publications help illustrate how heritage is an important source of economic growth and prosperity within the construction and property markets.

Here are seven thought provoking facts and statistics taken from the Heritage Counts 2016: Heritage and the Economy publication.

  1. Heritage is a significant contributor to England’s construction industry. It has been estimated that maintenance and repair of historic buildings ‘directly generated £9.7billion in construction sector output in 2015’. This is representative of 22% the maintenance and repair output and 8% the total construction output for England (TBR, 2016, as cited in Historic England, 2016)
  2. 138,000 businesses were located in a historic building in 2011. Generally, businesses based in historic buildings contributed over £47billion gross value added (GVA) in 2011, representative of 3.5% of the UK total (HLF, 2013, as cited in Historic England, 2016).
  3. ‘Listed buildings generate a higher level of total return on investment’ (Colliers, 2011, as cited in Historic England, 2016)
  4. ‘Businesses that occupy listed buildings generate £13,000 extra GVA per business per year’ (HLF, 2013, as cited in Historic England, 2016).
  5. ‘Investing in the historic environment generates economic returns for local places. On average, £1 of public sector expenditure on heritage-led regeneration generates £1.60 additional economic activity over a ten-year period’ (AMION and Locum Consulting, 2010, cited in Historic England, 2016).
  6. The four most visited attractions in England are the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Kew Gardens and St Paul’s Cathedral (VisitEngland, 2016, cited in Historic England, 2016). Faithful+Gould currently provide consultancy and surveying services to the Royal Botanical Gardens at both their Kew and Wakehurst Place sites.
  7. ‘Attractive places also attract business – One in four businesses in a survey of over 100 agreed that the historic environment is an important factor in deciding where to locate. The presence of heritage was as important as road access’ (AMION and Locum Consulting, 2010, cited in Historic England, 2016). 

Faithful+Gould has a team of dedicated Conservation & Heritage professionals to guide and support our clients in balancing the conservation of their heritage assets with the social, cultural and economic needs of today. To see how we do this, please click here.

Reference: Historic England. (2016) Heritage Counts 2016: Heritage and the Economy, London: Author

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