Heritage Counts was compiled by Roger Hills, Jersey Heritage’s Head of Historic Buildings. He also co-ordinated the resurvey, which was carried out by Jersey Heritage on behalf of the States and covered the breadth of the Island’s varied historic landscape.
Roger said: “The resurvey was a lengthy consultative period but it was vital that we captured each and every site of historical interest, from the Ice Age to the Occupation period, and roadside features to maritime structures and private homes. The reality is that only around 50 buildings or places are under management by heritage organisations. The others all belong to private owners so we rely hugely on them caring about their properties.”
Before 2010, historic sites received some protection through government policy but had no protection legally. By the end of 2017, the total number of buildings and places designated as Listed was 4,045, including Mont Orgueil, Elizabeth Castle and the parish churches.
Kevin Pilley, the States’ Director of Planning Policy and Historic Environment, said: “There was an assumption that some of these important buildings and places were already protected, but many were not. Therefore, the completion of this comprehensive programme of resurvey, review and designation is a significant achievement.
“It means that all of the Island’s heritage assets are benefitting from formal protection, many for the first time. Their value can now be better understood and cared for by those who own, live or work in historic buildings and places, or who make decisions about their future management.”
The resurvey results are part of a host of facts and figures contained in Heritage Counts; the report includes a summary of long-term measurable indicators to demonstrate the impact the historic environment has on the wellbeing of the Island and its community.
It is the fourth year that Heritage Counts has been produced and the theme of the 2017 report is ‘caring for the historic environment’. A series of case studies demonstrate that the people who look after Jersey’s heritage are found in a variety of places. The report says: “Guardians of our common cultural heritage come in many different guises, from formal administrators to teachers and craftspeople maintaining traditional skills. Historic buildings are primarily people’s homes and workplaces, and much of the care begins at home.”
Heritage Counts is produced by Jersey Heritage on behalf of a forum of the Island’s heritage organisations, including the National Trust Jersey, Channel Islands Occupation Society and Société Jersiaise.
Roger said: “Thanks to Heritage Counts, we are starting to build up an accurate picture of how historic sites in Jersey are being protected over time. It is vital we look long-term to better understand the challenges faced by the Island’s historic environment. This will ensure we don’t lose sight of the big picture, which is to safeguard Jersey’s incredible heritage, which once lost cannot be regained.”