Need Heritage Advice?
Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Sound heritage advice diminishes costs, helps avoid dead-end designs, accelerates the approval process and produces superior built heritage outcomes.
A key to achieving development success in heritage settings is the demonstration of active engagement with good conservation practice. What this means in action is not always immediately clear in a field buffeted by fluid statutory approaches, sometimes idiosyncratic decisions by regulatory bodies and evolving academic fashions. Contemporary heritage management is much more than simply preserving the primary facade of a historic building. Fabric, historic spatial and visual relationships, streetscape contexts, authenticity and social value are some of just the many things that must be considered when contemplating change at places deemed culturally significant. And at those sites whose value itself is in question, a whole different ballgame is in play.
While we have long departed from the conservation maxim of nineteenth-century French art historian Adolphe Napoleon Didron that, ‘in no case must anything be added and, above all, nothing should be removed', the aims of contemporary heritage management practice—facilitating informed and thoughtful change—does not just happen by fluke. This overview is not meant to cause any apprehension at starting a heritage project but to encourage you to budget for and seek out heritage expertise early in the planning process.
How is our advice formulated?
Touring the Past offers expert, tailored and frank heritage advice at a cost that will not break the bank. Our approach is anchored around high-level processes of establishing the exact nature of the heritage significance being dealt with and the manner in which it is transmitted at a place. This knowledge then provides a context in which to unpack the feasibility of your development aims and requirements.
In our deconstruction of heritage constraints and opportunities we move beyond simply regurgitating the dos and do nots of the relevant development control plan to providing you with different and inspired options and solutions. We also recognise that in some circumstances adverse impacts generated by change are unavoidable but can be lessened through the application of practical mitigation strategies (read more about this here). The heritage advice we provide is infused by a host of best-practice international and national instruments and guidelines, everyday examples of innovative development in the historic environment and the (albeit loose) heritage precedents of the NSW Land and Environment Court.
It is important to note that Touring the Past does not function as an unthinking advocate nor should you want us to. We can help you most effectively in achieving your aims by delivering objective evidence-based and honest advice that assesses the workability of your proposal from a heritage perspective as well as the risk of rejection by the pertinent decision-making body.
How we can help
The ways in which Touring the Past delivers heritage advice is flexible and mindful of the specific needs of each individual project. While it is often ideal for heritage guidance to be sought at the very outset of the design or planning process, advice at any stage can benefit the chances of a proposal achieving a positive heritage outcome and consequently, approval.
Our guidance can take many forms. Some projects might only need a concise review, the findings of which can be conveyed via email, phone or at a site meeting. In other cases, especially those of a large-scale or more complicated nature, it could be prudent to establish a feedback loop between Touring the Past and the design team and/or to prepare a briefing study that gets down on paper the strengths and weaknesses of an existing plan and recommended modifications and/or mitigation strategies.
We are also available to facilitate communication with planning and heritage authorities, such as translating and fulfilling heritage requirements detailed in land use letters or representing your heritage interests at pre-DA or review meetings.
Whatever the mode or level of involvement, Touring the Past delivers its heritage advice on an affordable hourly basis. We find this works best for both parties as it mirrors the actual amount of work needed on a project.
Generally, the provision of heritage advice forms only our first interaction with a project, leading to the preparation of other reports such as Heritage Impact Statements, Conservation Management Plans, Photographic Archival Reports and Interpretation Strategies at a later stage of the application process.
Utilising the heritage advisory service of Touring the Past will enable you to identify a valid and achievable way forward for the attainment of sympathetic and approvable change within the historic environment – it’s never too early or too late to gain the advantage of expert heritage counsel. Take the first step, get in contact today.