Protecting Heritage Assets

Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at on 11 January 2024.

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Photo of Steve Tuckwell Steve Tuckwell Conservative, Uxbridge and South Ruislip

What steps her Department is taking to support local communities and special interest groups in protecting heritage assets.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

DCMS welcomes applications through Historic England for local heritage assets to be considered for designation. We are also committed to supporting communities to care for their local heritage assets, including through Historic England’s repair grants for heritage at risk and the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s grants for heritage.

Photo of Steve Tuckwell Steve Tuckwell Conservative, Uxbridge and South Ruislip

With both RAF Northolt and the Battle of Britain Bunker in the heart of my constituency, the people of Uxbridge and South Ruislip share incredibly deep ties with the second world war, especially in the context of the Royal Air Force. As the 84th anniversary of the battle of Britain approaches, would my hon. Friend meet me and other local groups dedicated to preserving the important fabric of both of these valuable heritage sites, to ensure all is done for them to continue to stand as testaments to the bravery of the few who preserved our freedoms?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

My constituency shares deep ties with my hon. Friend’s, as RAF Hornchurch is in my constituency. Some RAF fighters based there joined in the battle of Britain, protecting London and our nation at a time of deep terror. We have a fantastic local museum at RAF Hornchurch, if I may just give it a plug, that is run by volunteers and is an absolute treasure trove; I recommend it. I understand that my hon. Friend has met with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, who is responsible for arts and heritage, but I understand that we will also have an opportunity to debate the subject in greater detail next week, and I look forward to that.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Science, Research and Innovation)

Hadrian’s Wall runs through the heart of Newcastle’s west end, but it is little celebrated or signposted, and the Hadrian’s Wall national trail does not actually follow the wall’s path through my constituency. What help can the Minister offer to local communities keen to celebrate this history, which is literally in their backyard?

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Father of the House of Commons

Will the Minister help the heritage of Victoria Tower Gardens and the voluntary organisations London Parks & Gardens Trust and the Thorney Island Society by getting the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation to unredact the minutes of December 2018, so that I can quote them when I appear at the hybrid Bill Committee on Wednesday?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

I confess I am not sure about the issue my hon. Friend refers to, so I will do some investigation and we will see what the Department can do to facilitate his request.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

I thank the Minister for her positive answers; it is good to see her back in her place.

We have some incredible heritage in Strangford, which goes back long before Ards and North Down Borough Council was brought together. The council has some ideas for promoting first and second world war heritage at the Somme Museum at Conlig. Have any discussions taken place with Ards and North Down Borough Council to ensure that our heritage is retained for everyone, culturally, historically and visually?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

I have just been informed that my ministerial colleague had a very positive visit to the hon. Gentleman’s constituency—I am sure he always offers a good time in Northern Ireland. I will ask if there have been any discussions with his local authority on that basis.