How the AJ won the campaign to save the country house clause

The story of the AJ’s ‘Save the Clause’ campaign, told through its headlines.

“Government to slam the door on great country houses”
May 8 2003

We reveal that planning minister Jeff Rooker and his direct boss, deputy prime minister John Prescott, intend to abolish John Gummer’s famous PPG 7 clause. Observers warn that it could signal the end for Britain’s 400-year old country house tradition.

“AJ launches bid to save ‘country house’ clause”
May 22 2003

The AJ steps into the growing PPG 7 furore and launches its campaign to ‘Save the Clause’. The first move is to send a campaign letter to Rooker signed by hundreds of architects including Richard Rogers, Norman Foster and the presidents of the professional institutes.

“MPs set to back Early Day Motion to save ‘country house’ clause”
June 26 2003

Labour MP Barry Sheerman, the chair of the House of Commons’ cross-party group on architecture and design, launches an early day motion demanding a reconsideration of the policy. It receives immediate backing across the political spectrum.

“Motion to save PPG 7 romps home”
July 17 2003

The AJ organises the Great Country House Debate at Riba’s Portland Place HQ featuring speakers for and against the clause.

“Government offers ‘glimmer of hope’ for country houses”
July 31 2003

During an interview with the AJ, the new planning minister Keith Hill hints that he is sympathetic to the case for keeping the clause.

“Howarth joins country house fight”
13 November 2003

Former labour arts minister Alan Howarth throws his weight behind the cmpaign.

“Ex-culture secretary Chris Smith signs up to save the country house”
December 4 2003

Former cabinet minister and political heavyweight Chris Smith adds his name to the early day motion.

“Inspectors in secret PPG 7 order”
March 4 2004

The AJ uncovers a secret document, distributed to planning officers in 2001, ordering them to take account of the proposed abolition of the country house exception when judging appeals.

“Debate wins ministerial sympathy”
July 1 2004

Alan Howarth manages to secure a House of Commons debate on the government’s PPG 7 policy. Keith Hill hints he will consider the AJ’s arguments.

“AJ wins campaign to save the country house clause”
August 12 2004

Government performs a U-turn in response to the AJ’s campaign and retains the clasue.

“AJ’s ‘Save the Clause’ campaign nominated for a PPA award”
October 25 2004

‘Save the Clause’ is nominated for Campaign of the Year in the prestigious Periodical Publishers Association awards.