CIC Strategic Review- your views sought

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) is holding a consultation on its strategic review, with views sought by 15 February.

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) writes:
CIC is currently undergoing a Strategic Review to define its priorities for the next five years. Having already sought the views of those actively involved in the organisation and its members, CIC is now extending the invitation to participate to the construction community at large by asking individuals across all sectors to fill in the CIC Strategic Review Questionnaire and challenge its thinking.

CIC is the UK’s representative forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction industry.  Established in 1988, CIC now occupies a key role within the UK construction industry providing a single authoritative voice on the diverse issues connected with construction for professionals in all sectors of the built environment, through its collective membership of 500,000 individual professionals and more than 25,000 firms of construction consultants.

The current mission of CIC is:

  • To serve society by promoting quality and sustainability in the built environment
  • To give leadership to the construction industry, encouraging unity of purpose, collaboration, continuous improvement and career development.
  • To add value and emphasis to the work of members.

How can CIC best promote and support professionals working in the UK’s construction industry to achieve its mission? CIC Chairman Tony Burton, Deputy Chairman John Nolan and CIC Chief Executive Graham Watts OBE welcome everyone’s views by the closing date of 15 February 2016.

View the press release and access the questionnaire

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HHA launch Capability Brown trail: 26 stunning landscapes…

A new online trail has been launched by the Historic Houses Association (HHA) to celebrate and commemorate the work of landscape architect ‘Capability’ Brown, as it announces ‘26 stunning HHA Member landscapes around England, all designed by the ‘Father of Landscape Architecture’.’

The Historic Houses Association (HHA) writes:
Grab your walking boots, put on your hats and scarves, and work your way around some beautiful ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes!

The Historic Houses Association announces today the launch of an exciting new online trail exploring 26 stunning HHA Member landscapes around England, all designed by the ‘Father of Landscape Architecture’.

This year is the 300th anniversary of the birth of ‘Capability’ Brown, the man responsible for the way we think of, and view, the quintessential English countryside. The HHA represents over 1600 historic houses, castles and gardens across the UK, over 70 of which are nestled within ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes, around a third of all his sites. Importantly the majority of these sites are still privately owned, many still being lived on by the descendants of the people who commissioned Brown’s work.

Christopher Legard, owner of Scampston Hall, comments: ‘My ancestor William St Quintin commissioned ‘Capability’ Brown to redesign the grounds at Scampston in 1782 and we feel very privileged to live within a landscape designed by such a prominent figure. It’s wonderful being part of a trail exploring his work and we look forward to welcoming people who would like to see the grounds first-hand. We will be holding a number of workshops, trails and guided walks this year, focusing on different aspects of Brown’s landscapes.’

The trail features some of Brown’s most famous projects, including Blenheim Palace and Burghley House. It also explores some of the smaller sites associated with Brown, such as Kirharle in Northumberland- his birthplace, and the Cadland Estate in Southampton, as well as sites which contain some of his lesser-known architectural work, including the chapel at Compton Verney.

Brown designed these sites to be used and explored, and many properties are running special events for the anniversary. So whether you’d like a gentle stroll, an afternoon tea, expert lectures or even a horse and carriage ride take a look at the map and start your journey!

View the press release and access the trail

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Housing and Planning Bill update sources

The latest debate on the Planning and Housing Bill was held on 26 January, with discussion on the implementation of planning permission in principle, the role of agencies such as English Heritage in consultations, and the design of new housing estates.

View the Planning Portal analysis of the debate

View the full transcript

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BEFS seeks assistance- historic environment volunteering

The Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) is seeking help to input into a new piece of research which researches volunteering in the historic environment. 

BEFS writes:
BEFS is delighted to be involved in managing a piece of research, commissioned by HES, which is exploring volunteering in the historic environment sector in Scotland.

The research is being undertaken by Volunteer Scotland and will update previous research which was last undertaken in 2008. There is now a pressing requirement to provide an up-to-date position to help inform the measurement of Scotland’s historic environment strategy ‘Our Place in Time‘. The aim is to estimate the number of volunteers, the time committed and the economic value of this contribution to Scotland. Some wider volunteering issues will also be explored.

An online survey will be issued in February to organisations across the historic environment sector. We would like to hear from anyone who has an interest in this research and, in particular, if you are an organisation currently engaging volunteers working in the historic environment sector.

The results of the study are due by the end of April 2016. Volunteer Scotland would like to hear from anyone who has an interest in this research and, in particular, if you are an organisation currently engaging volunteers working in the historic environment sector. In the first instance please e-mail: gemma.jackson@volunteerscotland.org.uk. The results of the study are due by the end of April 2016.

View the news release

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Historic England on temporary WW2 airfields: 9000 miles of concrete

A new report by Historic England looks at the role of temporary airfields in the second world war, and their design and construction. 

Historic England writes:
This report looks at the intricate subject of Second World War temporary airfields; it briefly examines the planning, design and construction of airfield landscapes, the numbers and types built, and the reasons for their post-war demise. Temporary airfields in England have been fading from the landscape at an alarming rate, so much so, that only a fragment of the infrastructure and pavements survive today and much of this has disappeared without proper recording.

The report was commissioned by English Heritage as part of the National Heritage Protection Plan (project 6370). There are two aims:

  • To list and assess the current condition of Second World War temporary airfields
  • To identify the best surviving temporary airfield landscapes and building complexes.

What has become apparent whilst carrying out the research for this document is the fact that in many cases it can be very difficult to define a temporary airfield. This is largely because pre-war permanent stations were constructed in several phases which were carried out during peacetime as well as wartime. They may have started out as grass airfields but the majority ended up with hard-surface runways and aircraft hardstandings, constructed to the same standards as duration-only stations. For the same reasons the planning and design of pre-war station infrastructure may have started out as non-dispersed compact arrangements, but over the course of the war many of these were expanded using the dispersal principle.

View the full report

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£16.5 million WG regeneration funding

Funding for regeneration projects in Wales has been allocated, amounting to an additional £16.5 million for eligible work. 

The Welsh Government writes:
Following today’s publication of the Public Accounts Committee’s report into the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales, it has been agreed that the funding will be transferred from RIFW to the Welsh Government intended to be invested in future regeneration projects in line with the Welsh Infrastructure Investment Plan priorities.  The funding will be used to help to create jobs, increase housing supply and improve community facilities across Wales, although decisions on specific regeneration projects will be taken by the next administration following May’s elections.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed the anticipated approval of Cardiff’s Local Development Plan later this week will trigger contractually agreed payments on a former RIFW site in Cardiff, which based on current valuation, will result in a separate future funding boost of more than £11m.  This is also in addition to £5m expected to be generated from another former RIFW site in Monmouth.

The Minister for Communities Lesley Griffiths said:  ‘Today’s PAC report marks the final chapter in the investigations around RIFW. We are now in a position to take steps to release this significant funding to benefit community regeneration projects across Wales.  The triggering of further contractual payments in Cardiff and Monmouth should also generate significant additional funding for investment during the next Assembly term.’

The Welsh Government will study today’s report in detail and respond in full before the end of this Assembly term.

View the press release

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LGO on housing allocations: Updates

Lessons are still to be learned on dealing with social housing allocations, according to reporting of recent complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) in a report assessing the impact of recent changes under the Localism act.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) writes:
A rise in complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) about how councils have dealt with applications for social housing has triggered a report revealing the impact on people when councils have got it wrong, and the lessons to be learned.

Last year the LGO saw a 13% increase (2014/15) in complaints and enquiries about housing allocations, and upheld 42% of cases where it carried out a detailed investigation.   The report throws light onto some of the stories from the LGO’s complaints, including a woman and her two children who had to spend more than two years in an overcrowded one bedroom flat.

The Localism Act, in 2012, gave councils powers to change their housing allocation schemes, aimed at helping them to better manage their waiting lists to suit local needs.

Recent government statistics show that 90% of English councils have changed their schemes. Changes usually include introducing tighter qualification requirements for applicants, including a local connection to the area.  A significant proportion of housing allocation complaints to the Ombudsman are from people denied access to their council’s housing register due to the restricted qualification requirements.

Several councils have recently had their housing allocation schemes successfully challenged in court for excluding some vulnerable groups which fall into a protected category. These groups can include the homeless, those in overcrowded accommodation and those needing to move for welfare reasons.

Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin, said: ‘The affects of failing to access suitable housing can be huge, and extend into other areas of people’s lives such as education and wellbeing. It is vitally important that councils get it right first time.  In the complaints we investigate we regularly find councils at fault, so I urge them to consider the cases in our report and ask whether practices can be improved to avoid similar things happening to others.??With demand far outstripping supply, there are difficult decisions to be made. But any changes to council allocation schemes should not disadvantage the vulnerable groups which must be given a reasonable preference by law.’

Common issues the LGO finds in housing allocations complaints include delay in dealing with applications or a change in circumstances, decisions not in line with allocation schemes, failure to consider relevant information, and not notifying people of their right to request a review of a decision.

View the press release 

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IHBC’s great new ‘taster’ for everyone: accessible sector news by email, for free!

Newsblog_homepageAnyone in or beyond the heritage, development and cultural communities can now take a 6-month ‘taster’ of the IHBC’s membership benefits by signing up for our free email news updates, and experience just one of the privileges being a member of the IHBC.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘We know that this news information service has brought together people from the most diverse disciplines and backgrounds, all united by a common interest in the care of historic and cultural fabric and places, and the sustainable future they can offer for all of us. And our emailed headlines make it easy to review the most diverse of current topics, fast to suit busy lives, but still inclusive and informed!’

‘You only have to look at the posts we advertise on our IHBC Jobs etc page to sense the breadth of the IHBC’s community of interests: building and facilities management, planning, architecture, archaeology, urban and landscape design and much more.  Now, with our email alert taster available to everyone, we can show how the IHBC can help you extend, advance or improve your career and prospects simply by knowing what’s going on around you!’.

‘So whether it’s a temporary top-up of skills in your work, or a search for a longer-term association with heritage issues, try out the IHBC’s news service for free and see how easy keeping up to date can be.’

To sign up for a 6 month free trail of the IHBC’s email alert service CLICK HERE

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Reminder: IHBC and HTF need your views on conservation practice ‘NOW’!

The IHBC and Historic Towns Forum seek your views on conservation practice today, and how it fits in with wider planning, place-making and management of the built environment throughout the UK, with a survey questionnaire closing on Friday 19 February’. 

See below for background

IHBC and HTF need your views on conservation practice ‘NOW’ … as closing 19 Feb!

Complete the survey HERE

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IHBC and more at the Civic Societies APPG: ‘Communities in heritage’

The recent meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Civic Societies, attended by a number of senior IHBC officers, explored communities in heritage to great acclaim, with key media and political figures present including Civic Voice president Griff Rhys Jones and Civic Voice’s lead in the House of Lords, Baroness Andrews, all as reported on below by Henry Russell, IHBC’s interim Education Secretary, for The Heritage Alliance Bulletin.

IHBC President David McDonald said: ‘It was an extremely useful afternoon, highlighting the voice of communities in heritage care and how they can help press local authorities to offer credible conservation services for their core clients: the local communities themselves!’

‘The theme is also especially pertinent to the IHBC this year, of course, as it coincides with the content of our 2016 UK conference, our Annual School, in Worcester in June, which will take as its theme ‘People Power: Catalyst for Change’!

Henry Russell, interim IHBC Education Secretary and THA , writes:
The Civic Societies All Party Parliamentary Group met on 27 January to discuss how communities can have a part to play when it comes to protecting heritage.  Speakers were Civic Voice president Griff Rhys Jones, Civic Voice’s lead in the House of Lords, Baroness Andrews, Carole Souter (CEO Heritage Lottery Fund) and Deborah Lamb (Director of Engagement, Historic England). It was chaired by Craig Mackinlay.

Deborah Lamb said Historic England saw the following pressures over the next five years:

  1. New housing growth, in particular the pressure to get well designed houses in the right places
  2. The erosion of local character, often by attrition over a period of time.
  3. Making Historic England more relevant, and engaging the public, especially younger audiences
  4. Declining funding, which means developing new ways of working.
  5. Cuts to local authority conservation by 31% since 2006. This presents a greater risk to Grade II buildings where HE has limited remit.
  6. There will be demand for increased skills to cover infrastructure projects like HS2 and the Palace of Westminster renovation.

She also mentioned the ‘Enriching the List’ project which will have soft launch soon. It is a web database of listed buildings to which the public can contribute further information and details.

Carole Souter spoken about the HLF’s work. She underlined the wide definition of heritage the HLF works to, and said the focus of their funding was people as much as buildings. Of every £1 spent on lottery tickets 5.6p goes to heritage. Since 1994, HLF has funded 39,000 projects to a total of £B6.8.

Baroness Andrews, former char of English Heritage and a member the Hose of Lords Built Environment select committee spoke of its work which will result in a report in March. It will aim to provide a long-term strategy for planning, and how the historic environment can play its part in that. The questions it will tackle are

  1. Is the National Planning Policy Framework doing its job?
  2. How effectively is planning and the environment being regulated?
  3. How can we achieve good place making?

She spoke also of the challenges of getting successful large new developments integrated into historic market towns, and gave the example of Lewes in e Sussex, and urged the meeting to champion the ‘heritage of the ordinary’

Finally, she expressed concern about the potential for erosion of local democracy in the provisions of the Housing and Planning bill currently going through Parliament.

Civic Voice president Griff Rhys Jones said that the historic environment had to be part of the future. Change is inevitable – the challenge was to get well designed new buildings.

The question and answer session which followed focused on concerns bout the loss of democracy in the Housing and Planning Bill, how heritage bodies can network better, and a speakers from London, Kingston, Kent, Highgate and Liverpool raised local issues about lack of local authority responses to local opinion. The issue of giving third party rights to appeal against planning decisions was raised. 

Find out more about the IHBC’s Annual Schools

Find out about Civic Voice

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HE (Wales) Bill Stage 3 on Feb 2: New lines on local lists and HERs

The Stage 3 consideration of the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill will take place in Plenary on 2 February, and with lead plans for ‘a statutory list of ‘Assets of Special Local Interest’ and government amendments proposing that the duty for the preparation of HERs is on Welsh Government rather than local authorities as previously proposed.’ 

Jane Lee at the Welsh Local Government Association, writes:
So far amendments have been tabled by Peter Black AM proposing a statutory list of Assets of Special Local Interest and government amendments proposing that the duty for the preparation of HERs is on Welsh Government rather than local authorities as previously proposed. This change of heart from Government is due to a number of factors including the provision in the Bill for a list of historic place names, issues re Welsh Language Standards, future proofing in light of local government reorganisation and removing the risk of a LPA setting up a HER of their own.  All in all WG considered it to be more manageable and neater if they have the duty. This duty will be discharged through the WATs so there should be little change of the ground and Cadw provides the funding anyway.

As a result of this change, the guidance on HERs that will be published will set out how LPAs should use HERs in decision making. 

Read more on the Bill’s progress

View the Combined Notice of Amendments 

See the Groupings of Amendments

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Muslim Council’s UK Building Open days – ‘Visit my mosque’

The Muslim Council of Britain is organising a national weekend of mosque open days throughout the UK, including many historic buildings. 

The Muslim Council of Britain writes:
Mosques across the UK will be sharing tea and refreshments alongside an insight into the day-to-day goings on of a busy Muslim centre of worship.

#VisitMyMosque Day aims to provide a platform for Muslims to reach out to fellow Britons and explain their faith and community beyond the hostile headlines.

Local mosques will also be inviting inter-faith leaders as well, and all will be asked to come together to demonstrate unity and solidarity during what has been a tense time for faith communities.

Mosques from all four countries of the UK, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are involved, and in major cities of the country. There are over 80 mosques and growing taking part – more than triple the numbers of mosques that took part last year.

The list represents the diversity in Islamic traditions, with mosques from a wide variety of Islamic schools of thought and traditions taking part, including some of the country’s largest mosques seasoned in doing outreach activities, as well as smaller mosques holding open days for the first time.

Men, women and children of all ages are welcome.

Anyone in the UK can use the MCB website to search for their nearest mosque taking part in holding an open day on Sunday 7 February.

View the press release

IHBC Annual School in Norwich: Shahed Saleem on Change in communities: how the historic built environment adapts see article in Context

Historic England article on Britain’s first recorded mosque

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National Holocaust memorial site announced, with design competition

The site for the national memorial to the Holocaust will be Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, and a competition for the design is to be launched.

No 10 Downing Street writes:
The Prime Minister David Cameron has today (27 January 2016) announced that the national memorial to the Holocaust will be built in the iconic Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.  The work to build a striking and prominent national memorial delivers one of the key recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission last year. It is being taken forward by the cross-party backed UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF), chaired by Sir Peter Bazalgette. Board members include Alex Salmond MP, Lord Andrew Feldman, Ed Balls and Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Alliance.

An international design competition will be launched in the coming weeks and the memorial will be built by the end of 2017. Plans for an associated world-class learning centre to challenge prejudice in all its forms, will also be announced in the coming months.

The Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission last year produced a report looking at how the country should ensure that the memory of the Holocaust is preserved and that the lessons it teachers are never forgotten. Along with a new National Memorial, its recommendations included a world class learning centre, a focus on promoting and furthering Holocaust education and a programme to record and preserve the testimony of Holocaust survivors.

Speaking at the start of Prime Minister’s Questions today, Prime Minister David Cameron said:  I know the whole House will want to join me in marking Holocaust Memorial Day. It is right our whole country should stand together to remember the darkest hour of humanity. Last year, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I said we would build a striking national memorial in London to show the importance Britain places on preserving the memory of the Holocaust.  Today I can tell the House this memorial will be built in Victoria Tower Gardens. It will stand beside Parliament as a permanent statement of our values as a nation and will be something for our children to visit for generations to come. I’m grateful to all those who have made this possible and who have given this work the cross-party status it so profoundly deserves.

Chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, Sir Peter Bazalgette said:

The task of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation was to find a site that would allow a striking, prominent and iconic memorial to be built. There is nowhere better to achieve this than beside Parliament. I stood there with a Holocaust survivor earlier this week and I will never forget his reaction when I told him of our plans. It demonstrated how we are doing the right thing for Britain’s Holocaust survivors in preserving the memory of humanity’s darkest hour. But just as importantly, we’re doing the right thing for our country by creating a permanent reminder of the need to fight hatred and prejudice in all its forms.

The Chief Rabbi said:  The historic announcement today, of the establishment of a permanent memorial to the Holocaust, next to Parliament, at the very heart of British democracy, will be warmly received by the Jewish community. Indeed, it sends the strongest possible message on behalf of the whole country, that the lessons of the Holocaust will forever form a part of our national consciousness and that the legacy of survivors will be secured for posterity.

Alex Salmond MP said:  It’s absolutely right there should be a permanent and iconic national memorial next to Parliament. This should be a catalyst for further commemoration and education on the Holocaust across the whole of the United Kingdom. I’m proud to be involved with this work and hope that I will be able to add a particularly Scottish dimension to how the Holocaust is marked and remembered as part of the overall project.

Ed Balls said: One year ago, the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission called for a striking and prominent new national memorial. Today we begin to realise that ambition, pledging a truly iconic landmark in Westminster. It’s so important that when children come to Parliament and learn about the history of our great democracy and all that we stand for as a nation, they will also be able to learn about and remember what happened when racism, antisemitism and hatred was left unchecked and allowed to flourish.

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of Holocaust Educational Trust said: Twenty eight years ago when the Holocaust Educational Trust was founded, we may have hoped but would never have believed that Holocaust education and commemoration would have become so firmly embedded in this country – this memorial, which will be right in the heart of our democracy, sends a clear message about the determination of Britain to ensure the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come.

With education comes remembrance – this special place will give people somewhere to remember and reflect. When we no longer have survivors among us, this memorial will help to ensure that their experiences are never forgotten.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said:  The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation shares our goal, to extend the reach and impact of Holocaust commemoration, in order to ensure that as a nation we never forget. Holocaust Memorial Day is the central focus for Holocaust remembrance in the UK and it is fitting that these announcements have been made today.  As we come together at over 3,600 events across the country, we have a chance to reflect on what has happened in the past and ensure we carry these lessons into a better future. A memorial in the heart of Westminster will add to the work already being done, and ensure a lasting commitment to Holocaust commemoration in the UK.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: The new Holocaust memorial, at the heart of Westminster, will offer the nation the opportunity to pause and reflect, to ensure this and future generations learn the lessons of the atrocities that were perpetrated on humanity.  It will also be a constant reminder of the need to challenge hatred wherever and whenever it occurs, to help ensure it can never happen again.

View the press release

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Round-up: New Year’s Honours for heritage, planning and built environment

The New Year’s Honours list included many high profile heritage and built environment professionals, IHBC presents a review of the list to show notable honours for those working in this area. 

Heritage Alliance bulletin notes:

  • CBE for services to UK government communications and trade for the Director of the GREAT Britain campaign Conrad Bird
  • OBE for Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust and Trustee of the Heritage Alliance for services to British Heritage
  • OBE for Jesse Steele of Jericho Road Solutions for services to Community Assets in the UK
  • OBE for Professor Maurice Howard University of Sussex and former president of the Society of Antiquaries
  • MBE for Peter Eversden, Chair of the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies recognised for ‘services to Community Engagement in Planning for London’
  • MBE for Sharon Webb for services to heritage and archaeology in Scotland
  • BEM for Sarah Bain for services to conservation in Surrey and West Sussex;
  • BEM for Mary Dovey, volunteer at Hughenden Manor
  • BEM for Ann Foat, Chair of the Ash Heritage Group, Kent
  • BEM for Pauline Griffiths for services to heritage and the community in Pembrokeshire
  • BEM for Alexander Gunn for services to heritage and the community in Caithness
  • BEM for Michael Lee, volunteer for the Canal & River Trust (
  • BEM for Neil Skelton for services to the preservation and conservation of Imber Church, Wiltshire
  • BEM for Susan Templeman for services to heritage. 

RTPI reports:

  • Alice Lester -Programme Manager, Planning Advisory Service received an MBE for services to Planning
  • Malcolm Sharp received an MBE for services to Town and Country Planning in England
  • John Worthington Director, Academy of Urbanism and Commissioner, ITC received an MBE for services to Urban Regeneration and voluntary service to Transport.

DeZeen magazine reported on architectural professionals receiving recognition:

  • Bob Allies and Graham Morrison -OBE for ‘services to architecture’.
  • Joanna van Heyningen, co-founder of van Heyningen and Haward architects receives an OBE
  • Patrick Borer, MBE
  • James Dannat awarded an OBE for ‘services to architecture and architectural education’
  • OBE- Irene Helen McAra-McWilliam, head of the School of Design and director of design innovation at the Glasgow School of Art

View the full 2016 new years honours list

View THA bulletin

RTPI list

View Dezeen article including images of works

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DoENI: There IS ‘Money in Monuments’

The Department of the Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI) Minister has launched a new report which looks at the economic and community benefits of the historic environment.

Department of the Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI) writes:
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today published a report following the international built heritage conference which took place in Derry last month. ‘The Back to the Future – New Directions’ conference highlighted the huge potential that exists for district councils, through their community planning powers, to realise major economic and social benefits from the historic environment.

Mark H Durkan said: ‘We are blessed here in the North with a wealth of beautiful historic monuments, sites, buildings and shipwrecks. Our historic environment should be cherished and protected but we are not doing enough to maximise its potential to create wealth through boosting the economy and delivering jobs.  Our historic environment sector already generates £532 million of output per annum and sustains around 10,000 jobs. Whilst this is impressive, if it were performing at an equivalent rate to Scotland, it could be generating £1.5 billion annually and supporting 20,000 jobs which is three times the output and twice as many jobs.  This is why I organised this conference and brought together key stakeholders. Only by working together can we deliver these important benefits for our economy and society. Partnership working to the highest international standards, through the framework of conservation planning is in my view key to this which is where councils have an important role to play.

‘I was very interested to hear the ideas and debate which emerged on the day and I hope that councils’ departments and decision makers will bear these in mind as they develop plans and strategies over the next few years.  In my view, we should be aspiring to international best practice and for Northern Ireland’s council areas to stand out as a destination worth visiting for their unique heritage. UNESCO has had a long involvement with World Heritage Sites and has published best practice guidance so the talk from the UNESCO speaker at the conference was particularly insightful.’

John Kelpie, Chief Executive of Derry and Strabane District Council who spoke at the conference said: ‘Derry City and Strabane District Council fully recognise the value of its built heritage in terms of its contribution to the physical and economic fabric of the city and district as well as broader tourism benefits associated with built heritage and conservation management. This conference was an opportunity for us to showcase the work we have done in terms of preserving, protecting and regenerating our city and district through the Walled City Partnership and our ongoing commitment to enhance the management of our heritage assets going forward.’

The Minister concluded: ‘Whilst this conference brought together key stakeholders, the potential benefits, if seized, could be for everyone. This is why I have published the conference report and urge everyone to go online and have a look.’

View the press release

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Scottish Parliamentary questions: Traditional materials and construction, courtesy BEFS

Members may be interested to note recent Scottish Parliamentary questions on the subject of traditional materials and construction, as reported in the most recent BEFS bulletin.

BEFS bulletin writes: 

Q      S4W-29166 Mike MacKenzie: To ask the Scottish Government what advice it provides to local authorities to encourage the use of locally-sourced stone. (SP 07/01/16)

A       Answered by John Swinney (15/01/2016):’Creating Places’, the Scottish Government policy on architecture and place, published in 2013, encourages project clients, commissioners, designers and approvers to take advantage of locally-sourced materials to facilitate sustainable development. The Scottish Government supports Architecture and Design Scotland to provide advice on the use of sustainable materials, including stone. An overarching aim of the policy is that design should respond appropriately to context. However, it is recognised that use of specific materials may be subject to EU procurement rules on open and fair competition for the supply of material and provisions in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, which require contracting authorities to consider, before carrying out a regulated procurement, how it can improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their area. On behalf of Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland and the British Geological Survey have worked in partnership with a number of local authorities to identify local natural stone resources for potential use in the conservation, repair and maintenance of traditional buildings; these include Orkney Islands Council, East Ayrshire Council, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Through its education and outreach programme, Historic Environment Scotland continues to raise awareness of the importance of natural stone resources to our sense of place and encourages local authorities to actively investigate local building stone resources and to recognise the sustainable economic development opportunities that an indigenous stone industry can provide through local employment, particularly in rural areas.

Q      S4W-29167 Mike MacKenzie: To ask the Scottish Government what action its agencies take to promote the use of locally-sourced stone. (SP 07/01/16)

A       Answered by Fiona Hyslop (18/01/2016):Historic Environment Scotland, which is a non-departmental public body, is working with the British Geological Survey to develop a natural stone database for Scotland that will enable public access to records and information on building stone types, quarries from which stone has been sourced and buildings in which it has been used. This database, which is due to be launched in 2017, will help the Scottish stone industry promote the historic and future use of stone resources. Historic Environment Scotland is funding the British Geological Survey to identify further opportunities for it to work with the Scottish stone industry to secure resources for the conservation of our historic environment. Historic Environment Scotland promotes the use of technically appropriate and locally sourced stone and regularly advises on testing and matching materials. The body encourages local authorities to make this a requirement when approving planning applications for listed building consent for alterations, extensions or demolitions works. It is hoped this will raise awareness of the importance of using the correct stone type and help stimulate supply of an appropriate local material.

Historic Environment Scotland also promotes the use of traditional Scottish materials through the Engine Shed: Scotland’s Building Conservation Centre, which plans to open in Stirling later in 2016. Historic Environment Scotland is required to operate within public procurement frameworks, which reflect EU procurement rules and require open and fair competition. Within this context, Historic Environment Scotland will work closely with the indigenous building stone industry to promote the use of locally sourced materials.

Q      S4W-29168 Mike MacKenzie: To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to promote the use of locally-sourced stone when work is being carried out on buildings and structures that are considered iconic. (SP 07/01/16)

A       Fiona Hyslop (18/01/2016):

‘Creating Places’, the Scottish Government policy on architecture and place, published in 2013, encourages project clients, commissioners, designers and approvers to take advantage of locally-sourced materials to facilitate sustainable development. An overarching aim of the policy is that design should respond appropriately to context. However, it is recognised that use of specific materials may be subject to EU procurement rules on open and fair competition for the supply of material and provisions in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, which require contracting authorities to consider, before carrying out a regulated procurement, how it can improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their area. The Scottish Government supports Architecture and Design Scotland to provide advice on the use of sustainable materials, including stone.   On 1 October 2015 the Scottish Government launched Historic Environment Scotland as a non-departmental public body with a general function of investigating, caring for and promoting Scotland’s historic environment. Historic Environment Scotland’s activities include providing expert advice for the conservation, repair and maintenance of historic buildings and structures, including the use of appropriate materials.

Q      S4W-28679 Murdo Fraser: To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that local authority planning officers are aware of Scottish Planning Policy in relation to wild land areas and how it should be (a) applied in relation to applications for wind turbine developments and (b) considered in reports to planning committees.

A       Alex Neil (03/12/2015): Scottish Planning Policy is a material consideration within the planning process. The Scottish Government refers to Scottish Planning Policy in our routine communications with planning authorities, including through the Heads of Planning Scotland network.

Communities, developers and planning authorities should be guided by the spatial frameworks for wind farm development that are guided by Scottish Planning Policy but prepared and applied by planning authorities. The approach to wild land as set out in Scottish Planning Policy should inform relevant policies contained within local development plan. Legislation requires that decisions on individual planning applications accords with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

It is for the planning authority to decide whether direct reference to Scottish Planning Policy is required in any decision or report to committee it makes.

Source BEFS bulletin- view also Scottish Parliament

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