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Built Heritage

Sense of Place

Humans seem to work better if they have a ‘sense of place’, that means if they have surroundings which are unique and with which they feel familiar and safe.

Heritage and Wellbeing research

Looking back at the 1960s when towns were clearing old terraced housing and replacing it with flats showed how many ills can be created by losing this sense of place.

There are now many societies and Government initiatives trying to create a sense of place for increasing numbers of communities.

The Civic Trust which gave rise to Civic Voice which contains many Civic Societies. The Sid Vale Association is considered to be the oldest Civic Society in GB

Civic Conservation Audit

Locality   Which is a community for communities

The Government’s research into High Streets  which when used with Historic England research on Heritage Counts yields interesting information and ideas.

Also the Gov. response to High Streets and Town Centres in 2030 report.

Place Alliance who campaign for better design for places including reuses of buildings. They have their own ‘wiki’ Place Value Wiki   which is the place to find their research.

Heritage 2020’s  monthly online discussion Heritage Chat had Heritage and the High Street as its topic in June 2019.

Sustainable building

There is increasing evidence that retaining and reusing old buildings is not only good for the planet (we don’t release embedded carbon, need to dispose of rubbish or have a big carbon footprint to create anew) but that it is also good for our well-being.

There is also increased interest in and funding of old construction techniques such as Cob, which is a Devon area of expertise. The joint England and France project is here

Other green building techniques are covered in this e-book from the Institute of Civil Engineers.

A Mexican Architect Tatiana Bilbao explains how sustainability is only a concern for rich countries but a way of life for poor ones. Poor countries reuse their historic buildings.


When looking specifically at Sidmouth we have built heritage everywhere. We have more listed buildings than anywhere else in Devon except for Exeter: see the list at Historic England

The Sid Vale Association is currently working with the District Council on compiling a list of local heritage assets, as part of the council’s Heritage Strategy: East Devon Guide for the Listing of Local Heritage Assets

The SVA’s ‘blue plaques’ are an essential guide to the local built heritage: More historic blue plaques for Sidmouth > SVA launches ‘blue book’

Our War Memorial is recorded on the National Online database

We hope to see the Drill Hall sympathetically converted by RockFish, retaining the nationally important interior features.

Long-time Vision Group member Graham Cooper’s website has links to several heritage projects, including The Sidholme Hotel and his Drill Hall Refurbishment Studies