• Access and / or conservation? An examination of the issues surrounding the use / re-use of historic buildings and the questions raised more specifically surrounding disabled access, particularly in buildings used in an educational context

      Pardoe, James; Freeman, James W. (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2003-10)
      This dissertation proposed to examine the issues surrounding the use/re-use of historic buildings and the questions raised more specifically surrounding disabled access, particularly in buildings used in an educational context. Within this context, the author demonstrated that the re-use of historic sites is dependent on a value being assigned to that property. That value can be a subtle and complex combination of several factors. The author showed that the government has had to create a legislative framework based in practicality to counterbalance these individual notions of value, and that the framework needs to be accountable and flexible. The author described how the relatively recent rise in the concept of social inclusion has manifested itself in the notion of equality for all, and focused on the implications of this cultural change in terms of specific needs access to the historic environment. The author discussed how, in certain circumstances, accessibility issues play a more prominent role than usual. In these cases, accessibility (particularly in a specific needs context) is viewed as essential to the majority of stakeholders and can balance out or even outweigh any conservation considerations. Finally, the author examined three case studies that illustrated specific needs access approaches to historic buildings in an educational context. Of these case studies, two showed a reactive management approach that had resulted in limited specific needs access. The third case study had employed a proactive policy and is a clear example of the benefits of doing so. The author has shown that rather than being mutually exclusive, conservation and specific needs accessibility can and should be viewed as mutually viable options for historic buildings.