I’m now posting the online version of the Observer article as it’s much easier to read in this form.
I also want to comment on a twitter post by Stephen Clarke who, as a trustee of Re-Form, has been briefing our lawyer, Rupert Warren QC. He points out that the importance of the Bell Foundry lies in what he describes as its ‘intangible heritage value’. This reminds me that Historic England has consistently argued that it has no interest whatsoever in intangible heritage value, only in the built fabric. The claim is that they have no legal obligation to pay attention to how a building is used, only to how it was built. This has always struck me as a very weak and indefensible argument for a preservation agency and I hope that a) our lawyer might be able to pick it to pieces and b) the Commissioners of Historic England (who have been unwilling to get involved throughout this whole affair) or the Department for Culture might investigate whether it was right for them to take this position, if necessary through judicial review.