Planning and development consultancy Montagu Evans has appointed Dr Roger Bowdler, former Historic England Director of Listing, as a Partner within its Planning team. It is the first time a senior figure from the statutory advisor has moved into a consultancy role at a senior level.
Dr Bowdler joins after 29 years at English Heritage, subsequently Historic England. He became a Listing Inspector in 2001 and in 2011 was appointed Director of Listing leading a department of 90, responsible for advising government on recommendations for buildings, battlefields, wrecks, archaeological sites and designed landscapes. His team maintained the National Heritage List for England and introduced the "Enriching the List" facility. Notably he was involved in the in the 2003-2008 Heritage Protection Review, the 1960s-80s office listing project and the implementation of the present system which is based on transparency and a set of new procedures intended to streamline the process and support development in the historic environment.
At Montagu Evans Roger joins the successful historic environment team, which works within the the firm’s 70-strong planning department. The specialists here, planners and conservation specialists, work across sectors, public and private, and have advised on major developments that include the British Museum Extension and the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford, both Sterling prize nominees. This service, led by senior partner Dr Chris Miele, helps developers work on to provide advice on historic buildings and sites, in urban and rural locations across the country. Their expertise informs planning, transactions and valuations.
Led by Dr Chris Miele, Montagu Evans’ historic environment have assisted on many landmark sites, including the South Bank Centre, RHS Wisley and the new visitor centre at Westminster Abbey. An important current project is the masterplan for the major redevelopment of the Olympia exhibition centre in West London, which sits within a Conservation Area and includes five listed buildings that have been sensitively incorporated into the plans.
Chris Miele said:
“This is the first time a Historic England Director of Listing has ever left to consult on this specialist area so it is an especially important appointment for the firm.
“Listing – and managing the issues around it – is central to our team’s work and affects the interests of many of clients who have land in prime locations. Many of our clients’ portfolio include historic buildings and areas, and we have taken a comprehensive view of heritage interests in these holdings for a number of them. Some contain listed buildings; all contain buildings which might be listed at some point.
“Roger’s expertise and knowledge are of real commercial value in all contexts, and particularly relevant when dealing with buildings from the post-war and particularly commercial properties from the 1970s, 80s and even 90s. Many buildings from this period are now being considered for listing, at critical points in the development and property cycle, and the risk of listing does not even figure on most of our client’s radar. The risk is notoriously tricky to manage because sounds judgments on the buildings of the recent past area really hard to come by in the market. We have now, as part of the firm, an individual whose judgment and exposure in this area is, literally, unmatched. The contribution this expertise can make to site values is already being proved.”
Dr Roger Bowdler, Partner at Montagu Evans, added:
“Bringing owners and architects further into the listing process was an important aspect of the reforms I championed at English Heritage and Historic England, and it will be good to continue this work. Everyone seeks clarity about options for change in the historic environment: helping bring this about is in everyone’s interests. It will also be exciting to work on projects from a new perspective.”
Dr Bowdler is an Extraordinary Commissioner of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and lectures on aspects of British Art for the University of California, Berkeley; Yale University, and elsewhere.