Is local plan housing delivery too slow?

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) have produced a research report which examines the impact of the NPPF on local plan delivery, and associated housing allocations, asking: ‘Is local plan housing delivery too slow?’ 

The NLP report- ‘Signal Failure: A Review Of Local Plans And Housing Requirement’ highlights issues where identified housing need in one area (such as Birmingham or London) is not addressed through overspill in adjacent areas, for although there is an identified need in a market area there are issues with distributing that need in an allocation among adjacent areas.

The research also identifies progress on adopting local plans since the introduction of the NPPF, with 32% of adopted plans requiring ‘immediate or early review’ but 62 local plans ‘found sound’ (p.3). 

Download the report

IHBC newsblogs on localism

IHBC newsblogs on housing

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‘Civic Trust Cymru’ Launched

On 1 April the Civic Trust for Wales became ‘Civic Trust Cymru’.

View the new website at

View the history of the Civic Trust for Wales and Civic Trust Cymru

Follow Civic Trust Cymru on Twitter (@CivicTrustCymru)

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NI Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme launched

A new small grants programme has been launched by the Northern Ireland (NI) Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) which can help repairs and improvements to rural community facilities, with a deadline of 22 May.

The Northern Ireland Executive writes:
The Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme will be delivered by local Rural Support Networks on behalf of DARD. The Programme will be open for applications from Monday 13 April 2015 until noon on Friday 22 May 2015. Grants of between £200 and £1,500 are available to constituted rural community organisations for equipment and minor capital works.

The Minister said: ‘I am very aware that the health and wellbeing of those living in rural areas is linked to the support network of family and friends around them. This is the very heart of a community network, people talking, socialising and having a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, I am also aware that more could be done to support rural community groups to help them create the right conditions for their communities to thrive and prosper.  I am therefore pleased to announce my department’s new Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme, with £200,000 available initially, that will provide funding towards the purchase of vital pieces of equipment and improvements to community facilities. By targeting rural community groups, this Programme can directly contribute to reducing isolation and poverty in rural areas while at the same time strengthening community links and promoting health and wellbeing.’

The Minister added: ‘The Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme is another example of how my department is actively tackling rural poverty and social isolation. It also demonstrates how government and the community and voluntary sector can work together to improve the lives of those living in rural areas. This Programme is a real opportunity for community groups to build on their existing roles and to empower local people to make their lives, and the lives of their family, friends and neighbours, better.  I encourage rural community groups to contact their local Rural Support Network or visit the DARD website for more information on the Programme and advice on how to apply.’

View the press release

Find out more about the grants

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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‘Highly sensitive’ Cotswold housing scheme dismissed

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has dismissed an appeal for 146 homes on the edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), due to the potential impact on its character.

The appeal considered the issues of housing land supply, the setting of the AONB, highways safety, local service issues and contribution towards sustainable development.

The decision notice states that ‘the benefits of the proposal would be far outweighed by the environmental harm that it would cause’ (para 33).

Download the appeal notice (ref APP/F1610/A/13/2203411)

IHBC newsblogs on housing

IHBC newsblogs on AONB issues 

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RTPI Scotland: spatial planning + community planning links

RTPI Scotland has issued a research report on the perceptions of community planning and spatial planning, outlining the benefits better joined up working.

RTPI Scotland writes:
RTPI Scotland has today released new research into spatial and community planning. ‘Linking People and Places: Spatial and Community Planning’ explores the relationship between these processes, investigates whether there is a disconnect between them and asks how they could be better aligned and what barriers and opportunities there are to this. It outlines how there can be real value if they worked together to join up Community planning’s work on improving the services that support communities and spatial planning’s role in developing the place.

The report outlines 10 recommendations including the need for community and spatial planning to ‘talk to each other’ more about how they can deliver better outcomes for communities, opportunities for greater professional development for spatial planners and the need for planners to show their value to community planning.

One of the report’s authors, Sile Hayes said:  ‘We spoke with a number of people working in spatial planning and community planning across Scotland about their experiences. There was a clear desire to make the connection, although this will often requires new ways of working. This research will help to inform those involved on how to go about this.’

View the news release

Read the full report

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Heritage Alliance free webinar: community shares

The Heritage Alliance (HA) is running a free webinar relating to the use of community shares and invite you to join in at 11am on 28 April.

The Heritage Alliance (HA) writes:
Call in at 11 am on 28th April to hear Simon Opie, CEO, Hastings Pier Charity, talk about the restoration of this iconic Victorian structure following a devastating fire in 2010 and how community shares have been an integral part of the charity’s fundraising efforts.

This webinar will be followed by key learning points on ‘Fundraising through the Community’ by an Institute of Fundraising trainer. Participants will be invited to put their questions to the presenters live during the workshops.

This free of charge webinar on the Workcast platform will be is the first in a new series of 30 webinars on innovative fundraising subjects. Each workshop in the series will be recorded and placed on the Giving to Heritage website, The workshops are open to anyone involved in a heritage fundraising project across the UK.

To register in advance please email

View more information on the HA website

Find out more about Giving to Heritage events (including forthcoming events and attendance at the Olympia Museums and Heritage Show on 29 and 30 April )at

IHBC newsblogs on funding

IHBC webpages on events and learning opportunities

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Highland Council: Interactive windfarm website launched

A new initiative launched by Highland Council aims to make information on wind farm locations, planned proposals and potential new sites easy to access through an interactive mapping tool.

Highland Council writes:
The Highland Council has launched a new interactive map on its website showing the location of windfarms and wind turbines in the Highlands.  The user friendly Windfarm Activity Map covers all scales of wind energy development and provides detailed information such as turbine sizes and  planning reference numbers to make it easy for people to get further information.

Chair of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Thomas Prag said:  ‘It has always been a bit of a challenge to keep track of windfarm development for everyone involved. This new mapping tool is a step up from what we had previously provided and gives very clear and comprehensive information at the click of a mouse. I am sure people will find having such an interactive and visual representation of where we currently are in terms of wind farm activity very useful. At the moment just the constructed and under construction schemes are shown on the map but plans are to get all approved schemes, refused schemes and those in the planning process added.’

Just shortly after the map was launched, Councillor Prag and his colleagues on the Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee had the opportunity to discuss progress in work to review the Council’s Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance which is used in the consideration of planning applications for wind energy developments.

New national planning policies published in June 2014 changed how Councils are to plan for Onshore Wind Energy development so Highland Council is currently in the process of reviewing their planning policies and guidance.

During the Committee Members were advised that an initial stage of consultation on key issues has been completed and agreed that the Consultation Paper giving the Council’s initial ideas for revisions to the guidance go out for public consultation between March and May with the intention that the formal draft document comes back to the Committee in August this year.

The guidance will identify those areas that are likely to be most approriate for onshore wind farms as a guide for developers and communities. This will take into account that other areas need to be protected due to their importance, for example for nature conservation or landscape. The Consultation Paper sets out further steps the Council proposes to take account of local considerations and cumulative impact before identifying the areas of Highland with the greatest potential for wind energy development.  Whilst the public consultation is underway, officers will be commenting on SNH’s draft soils and peat mapping (available now on SNH’s website) and on SNH’s forthcoming Descriptions and Guidance for the Wild Land Areas.  Also, Members will be invited to take part in a workshop looking at the various options put forward for revising the Guidance.

Committee Chairman, Councillor Thomas Prag, said: ‘As a council we are supportive of the development of a wide range of renewable energy types including wave, tidal, hydro, onshore and offshore wind but we have to find a balance and be able to make informed decisions using robust guidance. Through the Guidance we need to reaffirm our commitment to identify means whereby communities can participate in and benefit from the development of renewable energy across the Highlands. This is an important piece of work so I’d encourage people to take part as the comments we receive will help to complete the full draft Supplementary Guidance for consultation later in the year.’

View the news release

View the wind farm mapping tool website

IHBC newsblog on wind turbines

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Newcastle University Institute for Social Renewal: ‘ideas for an incoming government’

Newcastle University Institute for Social Renewal (NISR) has launched a debate and discussion highlighting ideas for an incoming government around regeneration, public service and community issues.

The latest blog concentrates on ‘sustaining small town regeneration’ and discusses the benefits of using a ‘small win’ approach to projects.

Read the blog entry on ‘sustaining small town regeneration’

Read all blog entries in the ideas for an incoming government series

Follow the discussions on Twitter using hashtag #ideas4anIncomingGovt

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IHBC welcomes pledge to cut VAT on repairs and renovations

The IHBC has welcomed the news that the Green Party has announced a new key pledge to cut the VAT on housing repair and renovations.

Mike Brown, IHBC Chair said: ‘Members will recall the IHBC co-sponsoring last year the new evidence collated by Experian in the cited report and the launch event we held at the Houses of Parliament.  While the various MPs (of all stripes) present at the launch expressed interest in the report and a number undertook to present it to the Treasury, sadly, if not predictably, it was subsequently dismissed by Treasury Officials as ‘contrary to the need for austerity’.’

‘Attempts to persuade them that this and other measures such as Heritage Tax Credits were vital (and cost effective) investments in the UK’s heritage fell on stony ground.  It is, therefore, encouraging to see at least one party recognising the potential of the ‘Cut the VAT’ proposal – notably a party that does not subscribe to the prevailing Treasury ethos, nor, it should be conceded, is likely to form the next government.  Members will, no doubt make their own minds up on who to vote for on the 7th May, and in order to scotch any perception of partisanship I must point out that ‘other parties are available!’

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘Of course the IHBC is not resting on this while the elections progress.  Indeed we are also actively exploring the idea of a UK version of the US Tax Credit system – provisionally called UK HTCS (UK Heritage Tax Credits) with a number of private and public interests that see the value of such a heritage-specific tax relief.  These ideas will take time to evolve, but we are sufficiently clear about the cross-cutting economic and environmental benefits of such relief to see real value in continuing our work here’.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) writes:
The Green Party has pledged to cut VAT on housing repairs and renovations.

Currently the VAT rate on repairs and renovations is 20% but, with the UK housing stock in desperate need of improvements such as insulation, a coalition led by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has been calling for a reduction to 5%, the lowest level allowed by European rules.

The latest independent economic research from Experian shows that a reduction in VAT on housing renovation and repair from 20% to 5% could create 42,000 extra full-time equivalent construction jobs from 2015 to 2020 and more still, an additional 53,000 jobs in the wider economy over the same five-year period. Additionally a cut in the VAT rate would incentivise the ‘greening’ of homes through insulation and other measures. The total cost of the VAT cut would be £6.6bn over the five years from 2015 but would result in an economic stimulus of £15bn in the wider economy.

Tom Chance, Green Party housing spokesperson, said: ‘This VAT cut would be a real boost for green jobs and warm homes. It comes at a time when we desperately need to be investing in a nationwide home insulation scheme, to cut bills and end the scandal of fuel poverty. This election presents Britain with a chance to vote for change. This VAT cut, just one of an array of bold policies from the Green Party, demonstrates our commitment to building a Britain of warm, comfortable homes.’

The Greens’ pledge to cut VAT comes after the FMB launched a campaign to ‘Cut the VAT’.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: ‘A VAT reduction on housing renovation and repair work will empower home owners to contribute to growth, jobs and greener homes. There is no other proposal that will help the UK achieve so many of its economic, environmental and social aims with so little cost to the public purse. Independent research shows that the wider benefits of a VAT reduction on housing renovation and repair would stimulate more than £15 billion of wider economic activity, which completely overshadows any direct losses to Treasury coffers due to a drop in the percentage charged for VAT. The Green Party is the latest political party to commit to a VAT reduction on housing renovation and repair and we are delighted they see the enormous value of this policy.’

View the press release

FMB research on VAT

IHBC newsblogs on VAT

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IHBC’s ‘Jobs etc’ service: Another year – another great offer!

Jobs etc snip

The new financial year started on 6 April and IHBC’s ‘Jobs etc’ service is committed to providing you with even better value for money as we report yet another year with improved service and no price increase, as well as a new loyalty scheme for frequent users.

Here’s what we’re offering:

  • No price increases for yet another year, while continuing the same reductions for direct posts from registered charities.
  • Introduction of a ‘Loyalty Discount Scheme’ to help you stretch your recruitment budget. So for every 12 adverts you place with us direct, we will give you 2 single vacancy adverts completely free of charge!

And here’s why:
We know you want quality service at a great price – so with adverts starting at just £400 (exc. VAT) and registered charity rates (not agencies) from only £280 advertising with the IHBC’s ‘Jobs etc.’ helps you do your business better.

Working with us you reach the principal professional body for building conservation practitioners and historic environment specialists – getting the applicants best suited to your needs at a price that guarantees value for money, wherever you are or whatever you do!

So, for all your recruitment and skills needs advertise with IHBC Jobs etc:

  • Jobs: full-time, part-time, temporary and cover, to secure the right skills on your team
  • Voluntary roles, such as trustees, to reach the skilled and informed as well as the enthusiastic
  • Academic, research, training and bursary opportunities etc., to ensure that your bids and projects are underpinned by credible skills and knowledge.

Our Integrated Advertising Service provides you with:

  • The chance to reach all specialist areas in built and historic environment conservation (in line with IHBC membership) e.g. surveying; planning; engineering, construction, heritage crafts; development; architecture; project management, archaeology; history;
  • The best way to reach specialist heritage conservation interests in all sectors: public, private and charitable, not-for-profit
  • A solution that lets you address corporate priorities in diversity, inclusion transparency and value for money: for a charity employing a skilled full-time person on IHBC’s average income, it costs only 0.1% of their salary to find the right person! Given the obligations employers have to staff, finding an IHBC member using our ‘Jobs ’ service is the best way to sort out your needs in all heritage and conservation skills.

For unparalleled access to the IHBC’s unique multi-disciplinary membership and networks (c.2200 members; c.10,000 digital networks) let IHBC’s ‘Jobs etc’ do the work for you.  Simply send the text, any links, logos, thumbnail images, and supporting documents, and we will do the rest!

And don’t forget that for IHBC HESPR members there’s one free posting per year – see for how to become a Historic Environment Service Provider.

Visit IHBC’s Jobs etc

Advertise your vacancy

IHBC’s Jobs etc background info

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IHBC applauds heritage in UK Placemaking Awards: Middleport wins heritage; Paisley culture, and much more…

The winners of the prestigious UK Placemaking Awards have been announced, with the Princes Regeneration Trust’s programme for Middleport Pottery winning the award for the ‘best use of heritage in placemaking’, and ‘Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy’ awarded ‘best use of arts, culture or sport in placemaking’, both UK award winners and leading a wide range of successful heritage-linked projects and initiatives.

The Planning Placemaking awards writes:
The Placemaking Awards recognise and publicise projects, plans, people and organisations that are making places better. Open to individuals and organizations in planning, regeneration, economic development, urban design, sustainable development and community development.

The aim of the Placemaking Awards is to be as inclusive as possible for the Built Environment, to showcase not just projects that have come to fruition but also ideas, plans and the people and consultancies behind the process of planning and to highlight all aspects of the Built Environment including the best practice that each and every planner has at the core of their work.

The Princes Regeneration Trust writes:
Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of world-renowned Burleigh ware, has won another national award – its second in under a month.

The Pottery beat off fierce competition from major redevelopment projects across the country, including the revived King’s Cross Station in London, to win a prestigious Placemaking Award for the best use of heritage in place-making.  The Placemaking Awards, organised by built environment trade magazine Planning, aim to recognise projects and organisations that make places better, covering regeneration, planning, economic development and urban design.

The awards judges praised the scheme for ‘[safeguarding] employment and creative uses of the heritage buildings to great effect’.  The victory comes just weeks after Middleport Pottery’s won a Civic Trust AABC Conservation Award for building conservation excellence.

The Placemaking Awards were held at The Royal Institution in central London last night.  As well as King’s Cross, the Pottery was also up against the new King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester and St Paul’s Gardens in the City of London (the City of London Corporation.  PRT’s flagship project is also in the running for three more regional and national awards.

View the Princes Regeneration Trust press release on the win for Middleport Pottery

Find out more about the history of Middleport Pottery

View the Renfrewshire Council news article on the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy win

Download the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy 

View the DoENI press release on the Living Places finalist award

Download ‘Living Places’

View the results for all categories

IHBC Awards Etc

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Good news & funds for historic buildings in the Isle of Anglesey

Historic Holyhead has successfully bid for and received funding from HLF to repair town centre properties and assist with the regeneration of the town as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has earmarked £2.375m towards the project and provided £50,000 upfront, with IHBC members central to the bidding processes.

IHBC Wales Branch Vice Chair, Rory Wilson said; ‘This is yet another example of why conservation skills in our local planning authorities are needed: creating new opportunities and taking challenging projects through from inception, effectively steering them through the legislation with competence and confidence.’

‘Conservation skills always lessen risks for Councils, but in delivering outcomes like these they also clearly demonstrate the huge relevance of heritage-led regeneration to supporting deprived communities, helping them find their feet and restore confidence through taking iconic structures and giving them new life.’

The Isle of Anglesey Council writes:
A vision to revitalise Holyhead’s Market Hall has received a significant funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The Isle of Anglesey County Council is delighted to announce that its vision to revitalise this landmark building has received a significant funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has earmarked £2.375m towards the project and provided £50,000 upfront to help successfully develop plans for the hall.  The news follows the recent award of £1.55m by the HLF in helping the Council to deliver a Phase II Townscape Heritage Initiative to support the repair and reuse of other historic buildings in the town centre.  The project proposes a major refurbishment of the former Market Hall, a grade II Listed Building – alongside essential conservation work – once again providing public access to this much valued historic building at the heart of Holyhead town centre.

It is proposed the building will combine a relocated town Library with an enhanced local history collection, while also providing a new exhibition space and other complementary uses, contributing to Holyhead’s potential as an increasingly important heritage and cultural destination. The proposals also include the development of a new interpretation strategy and activity plan for the building to reveal inspirational stories, unfold layers of history, thought and knowledge and help more people learn, understand and care about the building and history of the town centre.  The work will encourage new audiences, support community development and transform visitors’ and users experience of the Library service and Market Hall. It will deliver improvements in accessibility, facilities and infrastructure, and will benefit local residents, community groups, schools, tourists amongst others.

Anglesey Council’s Director of Sustainable Development, Arthur Owen, said, ‘The Market Hall is a vital regeneration project for Holyhead town centre. It has been a focus of our concerns and attention for a number of years. We’re pleased that the HLF shares our vision, building on the Welsh Government’s commitment of £700,000 towards the project through the Viable and Vibrant Places programme, for the long term reuse and repair of this iconic historic building. We look forward to working with stakeholders and the community in detailing up the proposals over the coming months.’

Jennifer Stewart, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, added, ‘As Holyhead’s first public building, the Market Hall is an extremely important part of the town’s architectural and cultural heritage. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to earmark funding of £2,425,000, including a development grant of £50,000, which will be spent on developing plans for the project in more detail.  Future plans for the building include transforming it into a new centre for training, community activity and heritage learning. I’m delighted that the currently empty building will hopefully become the new home for Holyhead Library and the Island’s local history collection, giving it a whole new important purpose. We look forward to seeing these exciting plans develop.  Thanks to players of the National Lottery, this is the second major investment HLF has made in Holyhead in recent months.’

View the press release

IHBC Wales Branch

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Brandon Lewis highlights landscape character to PINS

England’s Minister for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis has written to the Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) Simon Ridley to re-emphasise the importance of landscape character as a factor in considering planning decisions.

The letter states:
‘While National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coasts quite rightly enjoy the highest degree of protection, outside of these designated areas the impact of development on the landscape can be an important material consideration. We are publicising some of these appeal cases more widely, with the help of the Planning Advisory Service, to promote greater understanding of how landscape character can be taken into account by local planning authorities in their decisions.’

View the full letter

Planning Advisory Service

IHBC newsblogs on landscape

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