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23 Jan 2020

Heritage Counts report 2019 highlights the role of conservation officers...

Local authority conservation officers perform m a vital role in society by helping new and expanding businesses to find suitable premises and rescuing much-loved buildings from neglect and potential demolition, says a new report published by the Welsh Historic Environment Group (HEG).

The Heritage Counts report highlights the heritage sector’s impacts and achievements in 2018-19, including the newly refurbished Market Hall in Holyhead, derelict for over 10 years, now housing a new library, community centre and enterprise hub for new businesses in the town. The conversion of historic buildings to create the Old Cottage restaurant in Bridgend, and the conversion of the historic Jennings Building in Porthcawl into a popular café and small-business centre employing 80 people, also feature in the report.

The headline figures saw that heritage tourism and heritage construction in Wales create employment for 40,000 people, and that the school visits to the National Museum and historic sites managed by Cadw make the heritage sector a major force for learning in Wales. The heritage sector is also a major attraction for visitors to Wales, whose spending contributed £1.72bn to the Welsh economy last year.

The report also demonstrates that conservation officers are unsung heroes, whose work goes well beyond supervising historic building projects: they perform a vital role in regeneration projects, raising funds, encouraging partnerships and offering a vision of a better future for cherished historic buildings across Wales.