John's Priorities for our area...

  • Share The Facts about Weston & The Villages
  • Share The Facts about Weston & The Villages
  • Share The Facts about Weston & The Villages
  • Share The Facts about Weston & The Villages
  • Share The Facts about Weston & The Villages

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As the son of two historians, who was taken to see all sorts of castles, cathedrals, abbeys and caves throughout his childhood, John was either going to love heritage or hate it. Fortunately he became a huge fan, which made him well-suited to being Heritage Minister from 2010 to 2012. The role included responsibility for protecting and boosting awareness of heritage sites across Britain, listing important buildings and monuments to preserve them for future generations, and modern architecture too.

John was widely praised by the heritage world for his work, with The Council for British Archaeology describing him as "a champion for heritage" and English Heritage complimenting him for having done ‘a good job' as Minister. He delivered a series of important changes for the sector, including:

  • Announced long-awaited funding and road layout changes for Stonehenge, to upgrade visitor facilities at one of our most-visited tourist attractions which is also a World Heritage site.

  • Ensured that legal protections for listed buildings, scheduled ancient monuments and other important heritage sites weren’t lost or diluted when the new (and far shorter and simpler) National Planning guidelines were launched in 2011.

  • Cut red tape for owners of heritage buildings applying for Listed Building Consent to upgrade and improve their properties. The new, streamlined approach delivers the same levels of heritage protection as before, but in a faster, clearer, more certain and cheaper process instead.

  • Announced plans to allow properly-qualified ‘heritage architects’ to assess whether changes to listed buildings and scheduled monuments are being done properly. This will create a broader and deeper pool of highly-qualified heritage experts, particularly in areas where local Councils can’t afford specialist conservation officers anymore, increasing the speed and quality of Council decisions on Listed Building Consent in future.

  • Gave grade 1 ‘listed building’ status to the Lloyds of London building (architect: Lord Rogers); 2-star status to the Apollo Pavilion in County Durham (architect: Pasmore); and grade 2 status to the Milton Keynes shopping centre (architect: Walker, Mosscrop, and Woodward), St John’s Wood tube station (architect: Heaps) and Weston-super-Mare Library (architect: Hans Price) to preserve them as examples of the nation’s future heritage.

  • Delivered significant increases in money available from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and expanded the Listed Places of Worship scheme to help local communities maintain listed churches in need of repair.


Ministers confirm big step towards John's up-not-out suggestions...

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Ministers have announced that strict limits on the height of houses could be axed under the biggest overhaul of Britain's planning laws for more than 70 years, matching suggestions John made in his up-not-out campaign.


Weston Mercury: MP & Trust vow to continue Birnbeck Pier mission

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John and local community group - The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust - have this week renewed calls to rescue the Pier. In addition, the group battling to save Birnbeck says the damage caused during Storm Frank will not undermine its long-term rescue plans...


Western Daily Press: "Save old Birnbeck Pier before it's gone forever" says MP

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The Western Daily Press reports on John Penrose's comments after Weston's historic Birnbeck Pier, almost 150 years old, was left with most of the north jetty just inches above the water of the Bristol Channel following the storm.


Weston Mercury: MP urges owner to save Birnbeck

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WESTON-SUPER-MARE’S MP John Penrose has said the town is ‘fed up’ of waiting for the owner of Birnbeck Pier to carry out vital improvement works and claimed the pier could become an ‘important’ historical asset if it is saved.


Birnbeck Regeneration Trust thank John and welcome him as a Supporter

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The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust has thanked John Penrose for his support of the regeneration of Birnbeck Pier and named him as a supporter of the Pier.

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