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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.


Weston’s MP welcomes opportunity for local residents to mark centenary of First World War

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Weston’s MP John Penrose today welcomed news that local residents can apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for community projects about Weston’s role in the First World War.


John Penrose comments on the handing over of Heritage sites to a charitable trust

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South West Business have featured an article with quotes from John Penrose MP on the the Government's proposals to hand over the management of West Country heritage icons to an independent charitable trust. Plans suggest that this will allow it more freedom to raise and invest capital and attract other funding, while benefiting from the tax breaks the status brings.


Former Architecture & Heritage Minister: 'Britain’s urban planning is too timid.'

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Former Architecture & Heritage Minister, John Penrose MP, has said that Britain’s urban planning is too timid... We should be clearer about what’s worth preserving, bolder in allowing changes to what’s not, and less respectful of what is familiar but mediocre.


Breeze FM: Weston MP's Heritage Proposal Gets Government Greenlight

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Breeze FM reports on the news that £80m is going to be spent on a new charity to protect historic places like Stonehenge in a self-financing idea thought up by the MP for Weston.


Building Design Online: John Penrose responds to Government's investment into Heritage

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Building Design Online reports on John Penrose's reaction to the news that the government is to proceed with his plans to establish a charity to care for the country's historic properties. 

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