Paul Bedwell, a Civic Voice Trustee and town planner, gave us an informative and challenging talk on 11 July entitled 50 years of conservation areas. The 1967 Civic Amenities Act marked the beginning of these “areas of special architectural or historical interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”. There are now more than 10,000 conservation areas in the UK, of which 29 are in Ealing. Bedford Park and the Brentham Estate were the first two to be designated in our borough. Since 2007 33% of conservation staff in local government have been lost, and in Ealing we now have less than half a member of staff left at the Council to deal with conservation issues. It’s therefore extremely important that local groups and individuals help protect and preserve our conservation areas which are constantly under threat from development. Paul showed us examples of good practice from elsewhere and outlined the support being given by Civic Voice. There was a good debate following the talk, with one member of the audience challenging the rest of us to name the 29 conservation areas in Ealing. He offered £25 to anyone who could do it. Sadly there were no takers.