Mr John Somers

Mr John Somers

I have been involved with town planning for 19 years and historic building conservation for 9 years and I am a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). My experience in the built environment has been gathered through working in historic environment, planning policy and development management teams within public, private and voluntary sectors in organisations in a number of locations across the country. I have a strong interest in historic building conservation and have sat on Fabric Advisory Committees for Coventry Cathedral and Birmingham Cathedral, as well as being involved in a conservation trust seeking to repurpose and reuse historic buildings. 

My research interests involve historic environment conservation, town and country planning and sustainability. I am particularly interested in issues involving heritage value based systems and the assessment of significance of heritage assets. Other interests include retrofitting historic buildings, heritage at risk, ecclesiastical building conservation, assessing significance, and inequality as a result of legislation and the resultant design of the built environment. Currently I am looking at inequality in the ways publicly accessible toilet provision is designed and offered and how legislation and policy impacts this provision. I am also looking at how significance from a historic environment is interpreted and utilised in decision making in the historic environment. 

I am able to supervise PhD proposals and would be interested in looking at the following topic areas: 

  • Understanding Significance of heritage assets;
  • Historic building conservation (theoretical as well as applied);
  • Retrofitting of historic buildings;
  • Preventative Maintenance;
  • Inequality in design as a result of policy and legislation;
  • History, preservation and conservation of Places of Worship;
  • Reuse of historic buildings;
  • Sustainable construction and renewable energy technologies; and
  • The future of town and country planning.

My research/ publications consist of the following:

Somers, J., Demasi, M., Burke, S. and Carr, P. (2023). 'Toilet talk: (Trans)Gendered negotiation of public spaces.' in: Tseliou, E., Demuth, C., Georgaca, E. and Gough, B (ed.) Routledge International Handbook of Innovative Qualitative Psychological Research. London Routledge.

Somers, J (2013) To live or let die: The Restoration of Venn’s Arch, Hereford,’ Featured in Context Magazine, November 2013, Published by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, London

Somers, J (2006)  ‘Social and Affordable Housing Provision: Victoria vs Ireland,’ Featured in Planning News, February 2006, Published by the Planning Institute of Australia, Melbourne.

  • Architectural Humanities

In brief

Research areas

Heritage at risk, Sustainable development and Inequality in design and legislation

Skills / expertise

Town and country planning, Sustainable development and Historic Environment Conservation