The days of community driven protest marches to save old buildings appears to be mostly over. Heritage places are now protected as an intrinsic part of government schedules, development plans or schemes. Now that the community has passed responsibility for heritage protection to government, it could be argued that today’s heritage advocates are heritage advisors, not the community.
Advisors broker heritage solutions between owners, developers, planning policy and the expectations of the community. They are the heritage gatekeepers of the early 21st Century.
This paper proposes that a heritage advisory service provides the best model for the advocacy and management of heritage within today’s community. Advisors work at the intersection of planning and development; heritage and community. Advisors are the best advocates, are on the ground and know the heritage value of their area and build the relationships necessary for community engagement and satisfaction.
The paper will discuss both the benefits and challenges of the heritage adviser model- illustrated through local case studies. There are challenges to the model – subjectivity of advice, support of councils, strength of planning schemes and developmental and government policy pressures.