12:55PM, Tuesday 04 February 2014
The historic environment champion for the Royal Borough has said he will be 'doing what I can' to fight for heritage issues within the council.
Cllr Alan Mellins (Con, Cox Green) has been given the responsibility of keeping 'an eye open and an ear against the ground' to make sure heritage issues get due attention in the council's planning policies and decisions.
Backed by English Heritage, the position will be similar to the borough's existing cultural champions and will see Cllr Mellins aim to make sure the area's history plays a central role in council policies.
It will also free up Cllr MJ Saunders, cabinet member for planning and property, to focus on other aspects of his portfolio.
"I'm not against new development but what I am against is new development obliterating what we were and what we have been," said Cllr Mellins.
"We have got to leave the next generation a sense of what the past generation was.
"We have got to make sure we keep our heritage while allowing for the new world to move forward."
The role will initially focus on planning matters, but Cllr Mellins said he hoped it would be expanded to a more general position to help preserve the borough's heritage as a whole.
He added he has a keen awareness of the importance of an area's history through his career in the travel industry.
"It's not just buildings, it's the story of who we are," he said.
"I will be doing what I can to make sure that heritage matters don't get overlooked."
Cllr Mellins, who volunteered for the position last month, is due to meet with officers within the next week to discuss the new role.
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