Welsh Museums, DCMS on visitors, and NTS ‘conservation’

This month has brought several items of ‘good news’ for museums and visitor attractions; The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) reports that August brought record numbers of visitors to English museums, the Welsh Government are promoting the first Welsh Museum week and National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has announced the launch of a regional ‘conservation conversation’ event showcasing heritage of Fife, the Lothians, Stirling and Perthshire. 

The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) writes:
August saw the highest ever visitor numbers to DCMS museums and galleries in England, according to official statistics published today. A total of 5,899,043 visits were recorded in that month, the highest monthly total since records began.

Visits to the museums and galleries in August 2014 were up by more than half a million, 10.5% higher than in August 2013.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘This is outstanding news. Our museums are world beaters with their priceless collections, their scholarship and their impeccable customer service, so it is fantastic to see that this is matched by visit numbers.  We have invested so that the big national museums and galleries offer free entry for all, and these figures provide a glorious vindication for that policy.’

The Welsh Government writes:
The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, has encouraged people to discover what treasures await in their local museum as part of the first Welsh Museum Festival.

This week museums across Wales are holding special events and exhibitions designed to attract people of all ages to visit and learn more about what some of Wales’ world-class museums have on offer.

The Deputy Minister kick-started the week with a visit to the National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon and will be at St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff, later this week to promote and celebrate Wales’ outstanding cultural offer.

The Deputy Minister will also address the Museums Association conference, which is in Cardiff for the first time in over fifteen years, in which he will talk about the vital role museums play in engaging the public with Wales’ culture and history.

The Deputy Minister said ‘We are fortunate to have a rich culture and heritage here in Wales which is showcased and celebrated in National and local museums across the country. Understanding and remembering our past is important in recognising who we are and in making decisions about our future. Culture also plays a crucial role in supporting learning for young people, adults and families, and provides valuable volunteering opportunities to learn transferable skills.  Unfortunately museums are often imagined as stuffy and quiet places, but it is time to shake this image. This week I am launching an innovative new interactive programme at National Roman Legion Museum, which uses cutting-edge technology to enable people to find out more about the collections as they walk about the site.

‘I will also be at St Fagans, which tops Wales’ list of heritage attractions. With support from us and the Heritage Lottery Fund it is undergoing an exciting redevelopment programme which will make big improvements to the current facilities and will make it even more inviting for people of all ages and backgrounds to immerse themselves in Welsh history. The project will provide many opportunities for volunteering, as well as giving a huge boost to the tourism economy.

I’d encourage people to get out and visit museums across Wales to see how they are changing and be inspired!’

The NTS writes:
The National Trust for Scotland is showcasing its heritage work across Fife, the Lothians, Stirling and Perthshire at a special conservation conversation on Saturday 25 October.  This is the latest in a series of informal, local events aimed at anyone with a passion for the built, natural or cultural heritage of Scotland.

Taking place at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Birthplace Museum, the programme will share some of the developments at Trust sites across East and Central Scotland.

Experts will also share their insights on:

  • Stopping voracious beasties snacking on ancient artefacts
  • Inspiring the next generation through learning and outreach
  • Caring for the countryside.

IHBC newsblogs on museums

Museum week events

DCMS press release

Welsh Government Museums Week press release

NTS conservation events news release

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

New IHBC journal Context now online: Valuing Heritage

Context Issue 133

New IHBC journal Context now online: Valuing Heritage.  The latest issue of the journal of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), Context, to go online is our ‘Valuing Heritage’ issue, No. 133, from March 2014, which looks at conflict and controversy around how we define the ‘value’ of heritage assets.

Articles include:

  • Rebecca Madgin Valuing Heritage: Plural, Selective And Transitory
  • Sian Jones Conservation And Social Value: An Ambivalent Relationship
  • Gareth Hoskins The Vagaries Of Value
  • Katy Layton-Jones The Parks Conundrum
  • Jenny Timothy How Leicester Uses Value To Protect Its Heritage
  • Chloe Oswald Positive Results For Derby City Centre
  • Duncan Melville Heritage’s Economic Contribution
  • Sophie Norton Fluctuating Heritage Values At The Borobeck Store
  • Clare Smith, Christine Manly And James Webb Celebrating A 1970s Housing Estate

If you have any suggestions for articles or other material contact Fiona Newton at: editorial@ihbc.org.uk

As ever, themed issues of Context also include more general conservation articles as well as news, book reviews and reports from IHBC’s officers.  Issues are posted online approximately six months after they are issued to members.

If you have any suggestions for articles or other material contact Fiona Newton at: editorial@ihbc.org.uk

For information on Context’s future issues, guidance for authors, and links to the journal’s archives see the IHBC website 

To find out more about the IHBC, take advantage of our mobile friendly introduction to the institute’s 25000+ of web page resources at IHBC Webstarter

For background info see IHBC NewsBlogs

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off

3m visitors make HODs 2014 biggest festival of heritage

Heritage Open Days (HODs) broke records across the board this September, cementing its place as England’s biggest celebration of local history.

Heritage Alliance writes:
In its 20th anniversary year, the four-day festival welcomed a spectacular three million visitors, up 900,000 on last year. The number of events skyrocketed too, up almost 100 on the previous biggest year, to 4,695.

Organisers around the country saw visitor numbers soar; in Kings Lynn over 4,000 people queued to see the World War II Air Raid Shelters, while in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, every event saw record numbers of visitors, with a 50% rise overall. The Landmark Trust reported 9,000 visitors at their twelve sites, while new events did similarly well; in Beverley, Yorkshire, a cluster of privately-owned Georgian homes saw over 450 people queuing to visit the houses. Smaller sites also hit new highs – Rayleigh Windmill in Essex welcomed 260 people – its largest number ever recorded, while Ashlyns School in Berkhamstead was overflowing, with 120 visitors.

‘Heritage Open Days 2014 set a new standard for this much-loved event,’ said the Heritage Alliance Chairman and patron of Heritage Open Days, Loyd Grossman, ‘and the huge jump in visitor numbers proves that if you make history accessible, fun and affordable it appeals to everyone. Every year, Heritage Open Days shows what local communities can achieve, with passion, commitment and imagination. Each one of our thousands of organisers and volunteers should feel proud to have played a part in making our 20th anniversary event such a spectacular success.’

This is particularly welcome news for the HODs partnership of the National Trust, The Heritage Alliance and Civic Voice which has been managing the programme supported by English Heritage since 2012.

For more information visit the HODs website

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Planning (Wales) Bill launched

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant launched the new Planning (Wales) Bill this week, with proposals for the modernisation of the Welsh planning system including changes to regional planning, new pre-application consultation procedures and amendments to enforcement processes.

The Welsh Government writes:
The Planning (Wales) Bill will enable communities across Wales to benefit from a streamlined system which will support the delivery of the homes, jobs and infrastructure that Wales requires.

The Bill proposes:

  • Community consultations on major developments will be required to take place as early as possible to ensure a more robust and speedy planning system and a clearer framework for how developers engage communities in the planning of our cities, home towns, villages and open spaces;
  • Planning decisions will be made at the appropriate level of Government – in future Ministers will decide on planning applications for development of national significance to Wales;
  • Some planning issues extend beyond the boundaries of a single local planning authority and need to be tackled at a sub-regional level, through a strategic development plan, prepared by a strategic planning panel. This panel will comprise representatives of local authorities, community, environmental and business interests.
  • A more effective enforcement system which will enable communities to see more prompt action against breaches of planning control

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said: ‘I’m delighted to introduce this landmark bill, the first of its kind in Wales, which will see the planning process strengthened from top to bottom, resulting in an effective, enabling system which best serves the people of Wales and is fit for the 21st century.  Amongst the improvements that communities can look forward to are clarity on how and when to engage in the planning and consultation processes improved monitoring of local authorities and a refined appeals process that ensures greater fairness, transparency and speed.’

‘The Bill also proposes to amend existing powers in order to create more resilient local planning authorities with a wider range of specialist skill sets. I have made no secret of my view that a reduction in the number of planning authorities from the current 25 is essential for the future of planning in Wales and this Bill strengthens this position.’

‘In addition to this, the Bill proposes that Welsh Ministers take decision making responsibility for planning applications for developments of national significance, we are consulting on this and propose including energy projects between 25 and 50 megawatts. This will ensure that schemes with an impact on communities across Wales are considered in both a wider and local context.

‘Planning is at the heart of our communities, from building an extension on a house to building a new local school. The introduction of this Bill is the beginning of an exciting period for planning in Wales and I will soon be putting in place additional measures to ensure that the Bill’s objectives are met in full. I look forward to seeing these reforms, coupled with a ‘can do’ culture across the planning sector, providing a system which can make a positive and lasting impact on our communities.’

View the full bill documentation and track its progress through the Welsh Assembly website

IHBC newsblogs on planning reforms throughout the UK 

Welsh Government press release 

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Scottish Government Draft Budget 2015/2016: Views by 22 Oct

Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney set out the proposed 2015-16 Scottish Government budget in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, including details of Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT), and the Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT), with the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee inviting views on the draft budget by Wednesday 22 October.

The Scottish Government writes:
Proposed new tax rates are set to benefit first-time buyers and those at the lower end of the housing market, it was confirmed today.  The rates for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) – which will replace UK Stamp Duty Land Tax from April 2015 – were announced as part of the Draft Scottish Budget 2015/16.

The tax will be the first to be introduced by the Scottish Parliament in 300 years and will change the way people pay tax on property purchases.  The new rates will only be payable on the portion of the total value which falls within each band. This contrasts with the ‘slab’ structure of stamp duty under which the higher tax rate is payable on the whole purchase price when a threshold is crossed.

The rates will also:

  • Take 5,000 additional house purchases out of tax by ensuring that nobody will pay tax on the first £135,000 of their house purchase – £10,000 higher than the current stamp duty threshold;
  • Ensure that no tax will be payable on 45 per cent of transactions;
  • Reduce the tax charge relative to stamp duty for a further 44,000 house purchases up to £325,000; and
  • Ensure that 90 per cent of homebuyers will either pay less or the same amount as they would under current arrangements.

The two devolved taxes will be collected by Revenue Scotland and are expected to bring in an estimated £558 million in 2015-16. Scotland’s block grant will be adjusted to recognise that these tax receipts will flow directly to Holyrood and not to the Treasury in London.

Scottish Landfill Communities Fund
Communities near landfill sites will benefit from increased funding from the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund the Finance Secretary John Swinney outlined today.

Today’s budget delivers on the ask of the Scottish people during the referendum to build a prosperous and fair Scotland and following this Mr Swinney announced the proposals to establish a fund for local worthy causes. This will be financed through a tax credit system and projects within 10 miles of a landfill site or waste transfer station will be eligible.

Mr Swinney made the announcement during the Budget today where he confirmed the standard rate of Scottish Landfill Tax should be at £82.60 per tonne and lower rate £2.60 per tonne.

The Scottish Landfill Tax Communities Fund will be similar to the UK Landfill Communities Fund (UK LCF) though the Scottish Government proposes to increase the tax credit limit by ten per cent over the UK LCF at introduction.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: ‘Those living close to landfill sites can experience some detrimental impacts which is why this fund will provide for communities or environmental projects in the vicinity of land sites. By increasing the tax credit allowance by ten per cent over the UK model we are enhancing the role of the communities fund and increasing the funding available to address environmental harm without increasing the burden of taxation.’

Scottish Landfill Communities Fund press release

LBTT press release 

Parliament TV recording of the budget announcement

Scottish Budget Draft Budget 2015-16 Devolved Taxes – Forecasting Methodology Report

Background and invitation to respond  to the 2015/16 budget 

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Conference season: Lib Dems on housing

Several announcements on housing were made at the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) conference, including proposals for three new garden cities; the amendment of the New Towns Act to give Local Authorities further powers; the launch of new apprenticeship and training programmes, and the establishment of a housing taskforce.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged that the Liberal Democrats will insist in any future coalition negotiations that 10 new garden cities should be built in England including five along a planned new express rail line linking Oxford and Cambridge.

Garden cities proposals reported by ITV news

Liberal Democrats conference motions on housing

IHBC newsblogs on party conferences

Search Planning Portal

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Smith Commission on Scottish devolution: Your views sought

The Smith Commission is seeking the views of members of the public for input into the discussions on devolution of powers for Scotland, with a deadline for responses of 5pm on 31 October.

The Smith Commission writes:
Lord Smith has been tasked with convening cross-party talks to produce, by 30 November 2014, Heads of Agreement with recommendations for further devolution of powers to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK. As part of that, Lord Smith wants to hear from you about your views on what could be devolved.

The voice, opinions and ideas of the people of Scotland on what powers should be devolved to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK matter deeply. Lord Smith has asked intermediaries – the campaign and community groups, civic society organisations and institutions that already speak to and for people across Scotland – to bring together proposals and views of their members and feed them into the process.

Members of the public are now welcome to submit their views to help guide the Commission’s consideration of what further powers should be devolved to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK. The deadline for responding is 5pm on 31 October. There are three ways you can make sure your views are heard.

  • Email: Please email your responses to haveyoursay@smith-commission.scot
  • Mail: Please write to The Smith Commission, 7th Floor, 144 Morrison Street, EH3 8EX
  • Website: There will also be a dedicated ‘haveyoursay’ page on the website from Monday 13 October where you can put your ideas in directly.

It is Lord Smith’s intention to conduct the Commission’s work transparently and submissions will be published on the Commission’s website shortly after the deadline (in line with the policy on handling written submissions).

View information on how to submit a response and a list of powers which are currently devolved on the website

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Localism: Appleby Neighbourhood Planning Area

Further neighbourhood planning areas are being considered in the area that was one of the first to adopt Localism powers.

Eden District Council writes:
Appleby has applied to Eden District Council to be designated as an area that has the power to make their own planning decisions.

Formal designation as a Neighbourhood Planning Area enables the local community to carry out their own development planning. They can produce a Neighbourhood Plan that determines how development will be allowed to take place in their area, and they can grant planning permission through Neighbourhood Development Orders.

This kind of neighbourhood planning was introduced under the Government’s Localism Act to give members of the community the option of having a more hands on role in the planning of their local area.

There has been a very strong interest in the Eden area with 26 parishes already having been given these powers and more in the pipeline. Upper Eden was also the first area in the country to get such a plan adopted.

Keith Morgan, an Appleby-in-Westmorland Town Councillor and an Eden District Councillor said: ‘Appleby’s character and townscape are significant features of its heritage. It is important that through community-led planning and designated area status, Appleby’s residents will be able to have a significant input into developing the town.’

Eden District Council’s Planning and Economy Portfolio, Councillor Malcolm Smith said: ‘Yet another example of local communities in Eden embracing the opportunities provided to them by the Localism Act. Eden is very happy to support parishes that want to play a more active part in planning decision making.’

IHBC newsblogs on Localism

 Eden DC news

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Coal mining data published

Datasets of coal mining have been published this week by the Coal Authority, including known areas of activity, abandoned mines and mine gas sites.

UK Gov GIS data

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Local Plan withdrawn due to lack of housing provision

Derbyshire Dales District Council has confirmed that its Local Plan has been withdrawn from public examination due to lack of provision of housing sites, and an additional period of public consultation seeking new sites is proposed.

Derbyshire Dales District Council writes:
Derbyshire Dales District Council is to advise the Planning Inspectorate of its intention to withdraw its pre-submission Local Plan from a current public examination.  The decision by a special full meeting of the District Council on Thursday (2 October) follows a Government Planning Inspector’s declaration that the number of new homes envisaged in the Dales Plan is too low.

At the end of July, Government Inspector Keith Holland, presiding over a two-day examination of a pre-submission draft of the Plan, decided the 4,400 dwellings the council estimated should be built locally in the period 2006-2028 was more than 2,000 homes short of what was needed.  Now the District Council is to look again at the Plan and invite local people to submit suggestions of potential housing sites that have so far not been investigated.

In a report to Thursday’s meeting, Corporate Director Paul Wilson warned that the District Council had a stark choice to make.  ‘It can either take control of the initiative now and deal with these difficult issues as swiftly as possible, thereby minimising the risk of planning by appeal across the whole of the plan area and the associated costs that that would entail,’ wrote Mr Wilson, ‘or it can take a longer period of time to consider the issues raised by the inspector through a process of positive engagement with the public, thereby affording an opportunity to fully explain the difficulty of the situation.’

Mr Wilson conceded that due to the procedural requirements involved in the withdrawal of a Local Plan, the District Council would have to take ‘a few steps back’ in the process, meaning adoption of a Local Plan for the Derbyshire Dales was probably 18 months away.  He added: ‘The council will be unable to resist applications for housing development in the interim unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of providing land for housing.’ 

Put together by the District Council following an exhaustive consultation programme involving local residents and groups – the draft Plan sought to address local needs, especially for housing and economic development. It also protected the very special qualities of the district’s environment – both natural and built.  Submitted to the Secretary of State in May for independent examination, it had been hoped that the Plan would be approved by the end of this year, setting the policies for key development sites.

District Council Leader Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, who chaired a series of Local Plan meetings, said: ‘We’ve been preparing this Plan for several years and from the start we have listened carefully to the views of local people. I want to personally thank everyone who has contributed across our communities and appeal now for their help in identifying previously unexplored potential development sites for consideration and further public consultation.  National policy is demanding a radical solution to meeting the housing needs of the country with the target nationally to more than double the current rate of house building.  While we totally understand our residents’ desire to protect, as far as possible, greenfield sites from development, we now have no choice but to re-submit a plan that satisfies Government policy and meets its perception of the future housing needs of the Derbyshire Dales.

‘We are not alone in having to face up to this predicament and we are under no illusions that the outcome will undoubtedly displease some of our residents, but we are in the unenviable position of trying to reconcile the strongly held views of local people with a pro-growth national planning policy framework.  I can assure the communities of the Derbyshire Dales however that any decisions to allocate further land for development will only be taken following full public consultation.’

Local people will soon be invited to submit new potential site ideas in an online survey.

IHBC NewsbBlogs on local planning

Derbyshire Dales DC news

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

National Piers Society calls for heritage funding changes

The National Piers Society has called for changes to heritage funding rules this week, to allow piers in private ownership to be able to access funding. 

View information on the campaign and details of recent media appearances on BBC news on the National Piers Society Facebook page

National Piers Society on Twitter

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

HS2 route near Lichfield changed

Plans for the HS2 rail line route near Lichfield, Staffordshire, have been altered, the company responsible for the Government-backed project has announced.

The amended route will now pass under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire line rather than run over them on viaducts. The alignment will also be amended to remove two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal.

These changes reflect what many local residents and stakeholders, including the Canal & Rivers Trust, requested during the Hybrid Bill’s petitioning process.

The changes reduce the size of embankments in the area and mean large sections of the railway will run in cutting, limiting its visual impact on the landscape.

HS2 Engine for growth press release

Search Planning Portal

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

IHBC’s Derby Membership Support Day: video online

Since the successful Annual School the IHBC has been using more social networking and at the latest membership support day hosted by the East Midlands Branch we created a video of delegates seeking support for their applications.

IHBC Director SeaRound House Derbyn O’Reilly said: ‘The video of delegates gives just some idea of the huge diversity of specialist interests in conservation seeking accreditation through IHBC membership.  This is a great new way to see how your needs might be supported by IHBC membership, and just how successful the day was in helping those who could make it along.’

Alison McCandlish, IHBC’s Newsblogs Consultant, said ‘We wanted to create a short piece of film to help record the events of the Derby membership event.  The footage was taken using a smartphone, then downloaded and edited with iMovie to add titles and annotations.    We hope that the film might also help others who are considering joining IHBC.’

Branches who are interested in learning how to create videos like this to showcase their own events will be able to access workshops run by IHBC.

‘Thank you again to all the volunteers who kindly took part in the video and helped us capture the essence and experiences of the day.’

IHBC newsblogs on social media work for heritage

Watch the YouTube video

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off

Brownfield- v- greenfield is not ‘black and white’

The Land Trust and Buglife have called upon politicians to remember that whilst the NPPF prioritises development upon brownfield land, many brownfield sites can be wildlife havens and intrinsically valuable for public use.

Buglife writes:
Let’s change our assumptions about developing land – that’s the message from national land management charity The Land Trust and Buglife, who want to remind politicians it’s not as simple as brown versus green.

Euan Hall, Chief Executive of The Land Trust, said: ‘Certainly, there are areas of brownfield that are well positioned to accommodate the UK’s housing needs, but equally, there are many brownfield sites are more valuable to society and the environment as public open space. A blinkered blanket approach is damaging.

‘Brownfield can be a great place for wildlife, a great place for society to engage with nature and reap the benefits of the open space, as well as being a resource to assist with climate change adaptation. Oliver Road Lagoons is a prime example with its wildflower-rich habitats supporting over 1,300 wildlife species, 50 of which, are classified as endangered.  This proves that brownfield should not necessarily be the first port of call for new developments.’

IHBC newsblogs on brownfield land

Land Trust on house building

Buglife article

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

Panel for review of Welsh landscape designations announced

Details of the panel members who will be reviewing the designated landscapes of Wales have been announced this week by Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Natural Resources at the Welsh Government

The Welsh Government writes:
Professor Terry Marsden, Director of Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Research Institute, will chair the independent panel which will carry out the review of the governance arrangements for Wales’ designated landscapes, Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Natural Resources has announced.  The other panel members will be John Lloyd Jones and Dr Ruth Williams.

Making the announcement, the Minister said,

‘Our designated landscapes are one of the key things that make Wales distinctive. Their landscapes, and the communities within them, are an important part of what makes Wales special environmentally, socially and culturally. In addition, they play a significant economic role with the qualities that make them special attracting many millions of visitors every year.  Given their importance, I want to ensure that our designated landscapes are best equipped to meet current and future challenges while building upon their internationally recognised status.

The review will consider whether the existing arrangements are best-placed to deliver these objectives and, if not, what changes should be made in order to achieve them.  The panel has a wealth of experience in this area and I know they will undertake a thorough review collating and weighing up the evidence and views that will be gathered over the coming months. I thank them for their commitment and look forward to reading their recommendations.’

The review will be carried out in two stages and at each stage the panel will call for evidence and seek views from stakeholders, communities within the designated landscapes and the wider general public. Evidence gathering activities including written submissions, face-to-face meetings, public workshops and an online consultation will be arranged.

Stage one will examine the designations themselves looking at the purposes of these landscapes and the merits of classifying Wales’ designated landscapes under one type of designation.

In light of stage one, stage two will consider the governance arrangements of designated landscapes. It will review governance and management arrangements, and consider the recommendations of the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery as part of this. It will take account of the Planning (Wales) Bill in respect of the future arrangements for planning in National Parks.

Chair of the Panel, Prof Terry Marsden said ‘I am very pleased to have been appointed Chair of this Panel along with members John Lloyd-Jones and Dr Ruth Williams. In conducting our work, and making our recommendations, it will be particularly important that we gather a variety of types of evidence from both stakeholders and members of the public so I urge all those with an interest to have their say.

‘Our protected landscapes have served the public well over at least two generations, but, as we are all aware, they now face new, more complex challenges; but also opportunities. We hope therefore that the review will be an opportunity to create a realistic vision and governance framework for Wales which will provide the basis for them to continue to deliver to the needs of our present and future generations.’ 

IHBC newsblogs on Welsh landscapes

Press release 

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off

HCA plans for 500 homes at former MoD barracks

The Homes and Commuities Agency (HCA) proposals for 500 homes and a construction skills training centre at a former barracks in Hampshire have been approved by councilors. 

HCA writes:
Proposals to bring hundreds of new homes, jobs and better road links to a former Ministry of Defence barracks in Whitehill and Bordon, Hampshire, have taken a big step forward after being backed by councillors.

East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee approved the Homes and Communities Agency’s outline planning application for 500 new and affordable homes and around 3 hectares of employment space at its Louisburg Barracks site.

The decision supports ambitions to build a new construction skills training centre as part of the development, to help create around 500 jobs and provide a huge economic boost for the local area. The application also included the first phase of a new relief road which enables access to the site and eases congestion around the town. Work is expected to start on the road by next spring and is supported by around £10 million in investment from the HCA.

This project is an early phase of local plans to build around 3,500 new homes and create up to 5,500 jobs as part of a sustainable new community in Whitehill and Bordon. It marks a step-change in efforts to create a new community with homes and jobs after the relocation of the Ministry of Defence training operations and around 800 of its staff from the town next year.

The HCA has already started its search for a development partner to take responsibility for working with local partners and residents to produce detailed proposals for the homes and employment space at Louisburg next year.

Kevin Bourner, HCA head of area, said:

‘This is another positive step towards bringing forward real and positive change in Whitehill and Bordon, with high quality new homes and jobs that the area needs. We have never underestimated the scale of the task needed to make the most of the opportunity afforded when the MoD leaves the area.  The progress we have made here demonstrates that we are taking the right steps towards achieving this ambition. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done and we remain committed to bringing forward these exciting and transformational plans for the area.’

Cllr Richard Millard, East Hampshire District Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Commercial Contracts, said:

‘This is the second major planning application to be approved as part of the town’s regeneration and it shows just how far this project has progressed over the last few months. This scheme will radically transform the former Army barracks into a thriving community with 500 much-needed homes and jobs, and contribute significantly to a ‘step change’ in the lives of everyone in Whitehill and Bordon. It is a really exciting time for Whitehill and Bordon residents and I can’t wait to see work starting on the site.’

The latest approval from councillors comes after plans for 100 new homes and employment space at the former Quebec Barracks were backed by East Hampshire Council in July.

The approval is subject to completion of a legal agreement which will confirm delivery of contributions towards additional benefits including schools, sport, leisure and open space, transport and community facilities. A development partner for Louisburg will be selected by the HCA before the end of the year.  

HCA press release

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off