The Georgian Group is the national charity for the preservation of our Georgian heritage.
Since we were founded in 1937, we have lobbied for heritage interests,
playing a key role in the post-war development of the statutory
protection regime for historic buildings and more recently arguing for
the removal of VAT on historic buildings repairs.
As a statutory consultee in the planning system, we are asked every
year to review around 7000 planning applications affecting listed
Georgian buildings. Casework of this kind remains our core business. It
embraces buildings of all types and in all regions of England and
Wales. It throws up all sorts of interesting challenges. Outright
demolitions are still among them; often we are a lone voice speaking up
for unlisted buildings, even for Grade II buildings that are not high
on anyone else's agenda. Alternatively, we may be faced with plans for
over-intensive development in the grounds of country houses, or
unsympathetic alterations to churches, or extensions that swamp the
host building. Then again we may be asked to look at plans to subdivide
buildings in ways that obscure, or even destroy, historic features.
Besides that there is the unthinking erosion of architectural detail
and, in another league again, brand new buildings that that in our view
diminish the special qualities of a Georgian neighbourhood.
In many instances we have made a difference – sometimes dramatically,
sometimes subtly, sometimes in ways not yet fully realised. All cases
are examined conscientiously and intelligently by our four dedicated
caseworkers. Because we have no formal power, simply a consultative
role, we operate by influence and have to be realistic. A passion for
preservation is always balanced by an understanding that the surest
route to long-term salvation for any building is for it to be in
With that in mind, we are careful to encourage those who wish to use
buildings sensitively, who aim to restore buildings, or who have
already invested the time, effort and money in doing so. For the past
thirty years, our Cleary Fund has provided small grants for restoration
schemes. Since 2003, through our annual Architectural Awards, we have
given public recognition to those who have shown the vision and
commitment to undertake exemplary restoration schemes. And we have
devoted resources to education, in an effort to instil in young people
an awareness of the built environment around them - and a sense of the
contribution made by historic buildings to the health of the
communities in which they live.