Skip to main content

Heritage Sites

Volume 628: debated on Thursday 14 September 2017

My Department and arm’s length bodies are committed to ensuring that our heritage is protected for future generations and accessible to all. The Heritage Lottery Fund issues awards to projects that make heritage relevant to everyone, regardless of their personal background, and actively challenges grantees to reach beyond the traditional heritage audience.

Clifford’s Tower in York is about to have a £2 million upgrade, but it will not be accessible to disabled people afterwards. It is 22 years since the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, yet heritage organisations hide behind the term “reasonable adjustments”. What is the Minister doing to ensure that heritage sites are accessible to everyone?

I am familiar with the case that the hon. Lady mentions. Clifford’s Tower is a particularly difficult site to deal with, but I shall be happy to meet her to discuss her specific concerns, and I will take them to English Heritage directly, if that will help.

On 21 October, the town of Wellington will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone that commemorates the Duke of Wellington’s success at the battle of Waterloo. Although that wonderful monument, which can be seen from the M5, is accessible from the outside, the staircase on the inside is not, because the monument is undergoing a massive restoration project. Will the Minister join me in wishing all the people of Wellington well in the celebrations—in which I will take part—and does he agree that it is very important to restore monuments of such magnitude? That benefits not just local people, but those nationally and internationally, because such monuments are very important to our history.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on her election to the DCMS Committee and endorse everything that she says on this matter. I will be looking at progress as these improvements proceed, and it was a pleasure to visit her constituency in the recess.