Clark blocks major housing scheme in Cheltenham

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has blocked a major residential scheme in Cheltenham, which was the subject of appeal, because of the loss of locally valued landscape. 

Planning Portal writes:

The proposal involved a scheme earmarked for land at Leckhampton near Cheltenham where Clark acknowledged that without the housing contribution from this appeal the borough council would be two years’ short of an identified five-year housing land supply but like the inspector Clark concluded that the outline scheme would be contrary to the development plan overall due to severe cumulative transport impacts and because of the loss of locally valued landscape.  He also concluded that the development would prejudice the possible designation of Local Green Space.

View more information on the recovered appeal: land at Kidnappers Lane, Leckhampton, Cheltenham

Read more at Planning Portal

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Clark blocks major housing scheme in Cheltenham

Judgment paves way to build more homes on small sites

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has reported on a judgment that paves the way for more housebuilding on smaller sites and that will get homes built more easily. 

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) writes:

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis hailed a judgment that paves the way for more housebuilding on smaller sites and that will get homes built more easily.

The Court of Appeal decision restores a government policy which means affordable homes contributions will fall to those bigger developers building the largest sites – while those smaller builders developing sites of 10 homes or fewer will be able to get work started on their sites, without facing charges that could leave them unable to build any homes at all.

Ministers criticised the moves by West Berkshire District Council and Reading Borough Council who challenged the policy and brought legal action as ‘a total waste of taxpayers’ money’.

Smaller housebuilders make an important contribution to helping meeting the government’s key ambition of delivering one million new homes.

Brandon Lewis said: ‘We’re committed to building more homes, including record numbers of affordable homes – key to this is removing unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy that prevents builders getting on sites in the first place.  Today’s judgment by the Court of Appeal restores common sense to the system, and ensures that those builders developing smaller sites – including self-builders – don’t face costs that could stop them from building any homes at all.  This will now mean that builders developing sites of fewer than 10 homes will no longer have to make an affordable homes contribution that should instead fall to those building much larger developments.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment allowed on all grounds the government’s appeal to a High Court ruling.

Read the judgment

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Judgment paves way to build more homes on small sites

Edinburgh’s Botanic Cottage reopens thanks to HLF and more!

The Botanic Cottage at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) has reopened 250 years after it was first completed – but in a different location and thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and others! 

HLF reports:

Rescued in 2008 from demolition where it used to stand on Leith Walk, the 18th-century cottage has undergone a wholesale move and a traditional rebuild thanks to players of the National Lottery. It is now set to blossom as a new centre for community and education work in the Botanic Gardens.

Simon Milne, Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said: ‘The completion of the Botanic Cottage is such an achievement for everyone involved.  It’s taken a lot of grit, determination, skill and commitment to get the building from Leith to Inverleith.’

The cottage was the idea of John Hope, the Regius Keeper of the time and leading figure of the Enlightenment. It originally served as the head gardener’s home, the main entrance to the Garden, and as a teaching facility for Edinburgh’s medical students learning about botany and horticulture.  It was used in this way until RBGE moved to its present site in the 1820s.  It then became a private dwelling, and more recently, business premises, until in 2008 it was threatened with demolition to make way for new development. It was then that local community campaigners stepped in with a plan to dismantle the cottage brick by brick and rebuild it over a mile away.

Find out more….

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Edinburgh’s Botanic Cottage reopens thanks to HLF and more!

Vic Soc call for nominations for Top Ten Endangered Buildings in 2016

The Victorian Society (Vic Soc) is inviting nominations for the ‘Top Ten Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales’ for 2016, with a closing date of 1 July. 

Appearing in the ‘Top Ten’ focuses attention on neglected and threatened buildings and can help save them with benefits to the wider communities in which they are situated. 

The Vic Soc writes:

Once again we are asking the public to nominate the Top Ten endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales for 2016. Appearing in the Top Ten focuses attention on buildings and can help save them.

All the buildings or structures nominated will be considered by the Society’s architecture and conservation experts before the 2016 list of the Top Ten Endangered Buildings in England and Wales is announced on 14 September. Nominated buildings could be threatened by demolition, neglect or inappropriate redevelopment. The only criteria are that the buildings are in England or Wales and were built between 1837 and 1914. Please share our call for nominations on social media to help us hear about as many endangered buildings as possible.  An updated campaigning guide accompanies this year’s search to encourage people to fight for the buildings they are concerned about.

To nominate a building contact the Victorian Society via email (media@victoriansociety.org.uk) or post (1 Priory Gardens, London W4 1TT) with brief details of the building(s) on or before Friday 1 July.

Find out more…

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Vic Soc call for nominations for Top Ten Endangered Buildings in 2016

Nominate a project for the 2016 Church Architecture Awards

The National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association are inviting entries for two top Church Architecture Awards.

National Churches Trust writes:

We are now accepting entries for the 2016 National Churches Trust and Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association Church Architecture Awards.  Entries will be accepted online until 31 July 2016.

The winning architect or project  will receive the prestigious Award for their category and a £500 prize.

Find out more about the awards and how to enter

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Nominate a project for the 2016 Church Architecture Awards

‘Money’s not the barrier’ to the IHBC’s 2016 School on ‘People Power’ – £4000+ available for practitioners & learners… DAC staff, charities, businesses and more…

Worcs2016FlyerThe IHBC reminds all, with an interest in our 2016 School on ‘People Power’, that the IHBC is here to help those in need, and if your employer is encouraging your learning – as with the IHBC-ChurchCare partnership supporting staff on Diocesan Advisory Committees (DACs) – then you are all the more likely to get support from our bursary fund, but do apply soon. 

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘As with the IHBC’s programme of offering support for membership fees, with some £4000 in bursaries still available from us, ‘money is not the barrier’ to you attending the IHBC’s 2016 School.’

‘If you want to join the School in Worcester in June, finances should not be the barrier to your learning, skills, networking and professional development.  So don’t let a shortage of cash make you miss this unique chance to learn more about ‘People Power’ in action.’

‘Just check out the web site for details on our bursary processes.’

‘Remember too that applicants are assessed on a ‘first-come’ basis, so apply now.’

‘And if you are not a IHBC member already, you can strengthen your case by joining us online now’.

Join IHBC online

More on the IHBC’s fee support

More on the bursary process

Find out about the School

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off on ‘Money’s not the barrier’ to the IHBC’s 2016 School on ‘People Power’ – £4000+ available for practitioners & learners… DAC staff, charities, businesses and more…

Herts conference at Grade I Moor Park, ‘Planning and Conservation’, with IHBC membership advice too… 27 May

Three Rivers Council is leading a short conference on ‘Planning and Conservation in Hertfordshire and beyond’ at Moor Park Golf Club, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on Friday 27 May, which will include advice on IHBC membership and benefits, talks on current practice, and a tour of this hugely important historic house. 

IHBC Education Committee Vice Chair Simon Went said: ‘We’re organising a fascinating morning conference with lunch and afternoon visits in the splendid venue of Moor Park, a Grade I listed mansion with gardens in Hertfordshire. We have lined up speakers from many prestigious organisations.’

‘The cost is £50 and it is easily accessible by road off the M25 and rail via the Metropolitan Line out of Central London.  It will be of interest to you or colleagues and is great CPD!’

Programme details include:

  • Institute of Historic Building Conservation membership introduction
  • The History and Development of Moor Park Mansion and Gardens
  • Metroland/Arts and Crafts
  • Current legal conservation issues and update on current case law
  • Lunch/networking and IHBC membership
  • Tour round Grade I listed Mansion by Charles Ellis from Moor Park.

To book and for further details please contact Rafhea Rafiq at Rafhea.Rafiq@Threerivers.gov.uk 01923 776611 Ext: 7315

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off on Herts conference at Grade I Moor Park, ‘Planning and Conservation’, with IHBC membership advice too… 27 May

IHBC and CIfA sign MoU

The IHBC and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in London on 12 May, the first of a wider programme of structured partnering with organisations currently being developed as part of the IHBC’s Corporate Plan for 2020, ‘CP20’. 

Mike Brown, IHBC Chair, said: ‘After many months of delicate negotiation I am very pleased that the IHBC and CIfA have signed this Memorandum of Understanding.  The MoU recognises that we are the two leading professional bodies practising within the historic environment, each with its own locus and skill-sets, and that we should recognise, and encourage others to recognise, our different but complementary characteristics.’

‘I am indebted to the vision and courage shown by Jan Wills, the Honorary Chairman of CIfA, in realising the MoU.  I believe that both institutions can now look forward to stronger relations based on mutual respect and closer cooperation that will benefit the wider historic environment and all of Britain’s heritage.’ 

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘The Memorandum of Understanding is a core tool in our partnering strategy – helping us build on the more informal good intentions of our representatives and officers – so it is great news that we have taken a first critical step in this programme.’

‘This will be the first of at least five MoUs that we’ve committed to grow as part of our AGM approved corpotate planning strategy for 2020, or ‘CP20’.’

For more on the CIfA see http://www.archaeologists.net

For details on the operation of the MoU, which will include support for complementary membership benefits, please monitor our NewsBlogs.

See the IHBC’s CP20

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off on IHBC and CIfA sign MoU

IHBC spotlight on ‘Subtopia’: Ian Nairn’s essential philosophies distilled – in discussion and on film

Many IHBC members will be keen to hear that, sixty years after Ian Nairn coined the term ‘Subtopia’, an unmissable discussion on Radio 4 explores Ian Nairn’s considerable legacy as a writer and broadcaster, highlighting too how, in so many ways, he laid the foundations for our understanding of places for people, while further insights are available though

BBC Radio 4 writes:
Gillian Darley in conversation with Gavin Stamp and Janice Morphet retrace the story of Ian Nairn’s invention of the concept of ‘Subtopia’.  This coincides with the 60th anniversary of the publication of ‘Counter Attack’ and one of the most significant architectural debacles of the post-war era, with extended consequences.  Some of the radio sound-bites from critics in the 50’s are stunning.

The IHBC also notes that equally invaluable CPD from Ian Nairn for members is currently available on BBC iPlayer which features ‘Nairn Across Britain’.

This is a series of programmes from 1972 featuring Nairn’s travels through Britain taking a critical look at the townscapes and landscapes in which we live.

Listen to the radio programme

Watch the films

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on IHBC spotlight on ‘Subtopia’: Ian Nairn’s essential philosophies distilled – in discussion and on film

England’s Housing and Planning Bill receives Royal Assent

New measures to help more people in England buy their own home and get houses built faster became law on 13 May 2016 as the Housing and Planning Act received Royal Assent. 

Government writes:
The Act sets out a clear determination from the government to keep the country building while giving hard working families every opportunity to unlock the door to home ownership.

It will give housebuilders and decision-makers the tools and confidence to provide more homes and further streamline the planning system to accelerate their delivery.

The measures include underpinning the voluntary Right to Buy agreement with housing associations, supporting the doubling of the number of custom and self-build homes by 2020, tackling rogue landlords and speeding up the neighbourhood planning process.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:’Our landmark Housing and Planning Act will help anyone who aspires to own their own home achieve their dream. It will increase housing supply alongside home ownership building on the biggest affordable house building program since the 1970s.  The act will contribute to transforming generation rent into generation buy, helping us towards achieving our ambition of delivering 1 million new homes.’

The Act will:

Help more people own their own home

  • help more people own their own home by extending Right to Buy level discounts to housing association tenants – measures underpinning the Voluntary Agreement with the National Housing Federation
  • place a duty on local planning authorities to actively promote the development of Starter Homes and embed them in the planning system

Get the nation building homes faster

  • unlock brownfield land to provide homes faster, requiring local authorities to prepare, maintain and publish local registers of specified land
  • support the doubling of the number of custom-built and self-built homes to 20,000 by 2020
  • ensure that every area has a local plan
  • reform the compulsory purchase process to make it clearer, fairer and faster
  • simplify and speed up neighbourhood planning

Ensure the way housing is managed is fair and fit for the future

  • require social tenants on higher incomes to pay fairer rents
  • place a duty on councils to consider selling their higher value housing assets when they fall vacant
  • tackle rogue landlords though a number of measures to give local authorities more powers
  • better local information on the private rented sector – allowing local authorities to access data held by the Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes
  • reduce the regulatory controls for private registered providers of housing to increase their freedoms to manage their housing stock efficiently and effectively
  • enable lead enforcement authority for estate agents

See the Housing and Planning Bill

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on England’s Housing and Planning Bill receives Royal Assent

Conviction in art theft of Devon church art works as old legislation gets legs…

A 48 year old man has been sentenced for three years and eight months at Hereford Crown Court for crimes including the theft of two priceless 15th century oak panels, as an important piece of legislation, brought into force around the time of the UK’s accession to the UNESCO 1970 Convention in 2002, has at last been used as the basis for a conviction. 

Alexander Herman on the Institute of Art and Law Blog writes:
An important piece of legislation, brought into force around the time of the UK’s accession to the UNESCO 1970 Convention in 2002, has at last been used as the basis for a conviction. 

The statute, the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, sets out an offence for dishonestly dealing in tainted cultural objects.  The term ‘tainted’ for our purposes refers to objects that have been removed from buildings, structures or monuments of historical, architectural or archaeological interest. Interestingly, the Act applies regardless of whether the items were removed in the UK or abroad.

The week of May 11 at Hereford Crown Court, in the west of England, the Act was finally put to good use.  Defendant Christopher Cooper had been something of a rampant – though perhaps repentant – heritage thief.

Over three years he had moved across the country, targeting churches and stealing statues, paintings, friezes and even several King James bibles.  Following his arrest in January 2015, he pleaded guilty to 37 thefts, which included the theft of two 15th century oak panels taken from a rood screen at Holy Trinity Church in Torbryan, Devon.  The panels have been recovered and are now undergoing extensive conservation.

The defendant was charged with theft under the Theft Act 1968, as well as fraud for selling fakes and replicas of statues, stained glass and coffins, which he offered for sale online, along with the stolen material. But most importantly from a cultural heritage law perspective, he was also charged with dealing in tainted cultural objects under the 2003 Act.  He was sentenced to three years in prison on seven charges of theft and three years for dealing in tainted cultural objects, those sentences to run concurrently. He was also sentenced to eight months on two counts of fraud. The sentencing grand total was thus three years and eight months. Certainly nothing to snicker at… 

The Churches Conservation Trust writes:
Christopher Cooper admitted fraud, specimen theft charges, and dealing in tainted cultural objects. His thefts took place in a series of offences over three years, and included the two panels stolen from the rood screen of Holy Trinity Church at Torbryanin Devon in August 2013 during which time district crown prosecutor and CPS lead for heritage crime Stephen Davies suggested he made £150,000 from his crimes, according to the Mirror.

It took a dedicated team at West Mercia Police 18 months to fully investigate the crimes, with the support of the Metropolitan Police Art and Antiques Unit. Most of the stolen items have now been returned to their rightful owners.

Following a successful fundraising campaign to raise the money to fix damage caused by the thefts, the two priceless panels from Holy Trinity at Torbryan in Devon are now undergoing painstaking conservation work (pictured bottom), and are scheduled to be returned to the church over the summer.

The decorative oak panels, bearing paintings of St Victor of Marseilles and St Margaret of Antioch, are considered of national importance, and were stolen from Holy Trinity Church at Torbryan in Devon between 2nd and 9th August 2013.  The panels remained missing until they were recovered by the Metropolitan Police Art & Antiques Unit after being spotted by a private collector in an online sale. This led to a raid by specialist detectives in south London in January 2015.

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of The Churches Conservation Trust, said: ‘It is good that Mr Cooper has come clean about these damaging & heart-breaking thefts and has helped return valuable historic items to their rightful owners – the community. Heritage crime causes just as much heartache and anxiety as other sorts of theft, but all too often it goes unsolved. Particular thanks to West Mercia Police and the various police forces who worked so hard to bring Mr Cooper to justice.’

‘Thankfully, the generosity of our supporters and the general public is allowing the priceless artworks he hacked out of Holy Trinity Torbryan in Devon to be painstakingly conserved, and they will soon return home to the church. However, as a heritage charity reliant on donations to maintain and care for our 349 churches, that money could have been spent on other important artefacts.’

The panels are part of a rood screen which is one of only a handful of such artworks in England which survived the Reformation. The theft prompted a national media campaign to try to trace the whereabouts of the missing panels, receiving the backing of high profile figures such as Loyd Grossman, Dan Cruickshank and the late Candida Lycett Green. The collector who alerted the police recognised the panels from media coverage of the theft.

When it first came to light in 2013, the theft was a bitter blow, but thanks to generous donations from supporters and members of the public, £7,000 was raised to restore the damage, and thanks to a £47,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Holy Trinity is also currently the venue for a project to tell the history of the building and the surrounding village and countryside, adding imaginative new on-site interpretation and events.

West Mercia Police led the investigation into the theft as part of Operation Icarus, and recovered a treasure trove of other church artefacts, including stonework, friezes, statues, paintings, brasses, misericords, stained glass and bibles.

Read more….

For more background see the Plymouth Herald and the Guardian

Access the Act

Conviction at last under 2003 Act

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Conviction in art theft of Devon church art works as old legislation gets legs…

CV & friends appeal: Government asked to fulfil pledge strengthening neighbourhood planning, through appeals

Campaigners, including Civic Voice, unsuccessfully urged the Government to back up its pledge to give added strength to neighbourhood planning, following a debate on the Housing and Planning Bill on Monday 9 May. 

Civic Voice writes:
Planning minister Brandon Lewis once again rejected a Lords amendment tabled by Baroness Parminter to enable communities with a complete or emerging neighbourhood plan to appeal against decisions that conflicted with that plan. Citing his opposition to extending third party rights in the planning system, Mr Lewis achieved parliamentary support to reinstate the Government’s own amendment to support neighbourhood planning: a clause to ensure complete plans are referred to in decisions.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Civic Voice and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) are disappointed that the Government has established a clause that adds nothing to standard practice, but are heartened by Mr Lewis’s pledge to ‘work with colleagues to ensure that neighbourhood plans enjoy the primacy that we intend them to have in planning law’.

The groups believe that ministers can and should work with supportive Conservative MPs, such as Nick Herbert, and supportive peers to give greater weight to neighbourhood planning. The groups argue that the secretary of state should incorporate the principles of a ‘neighbourhood right to be heard’, as also tabled (and subsequently withdrawn) by Baroness Parminter on Tuesday (10 May), into secondary legislation or existing planning policy.

See what CPRE, Civic Voice and NALC had to say on the CV website

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on CV & friends appeal: Government asked to fulfil pledge strengthening neighbourhood planning, through appeals

Decline in regulation is ‘social murder’, report claims

A new briefing into the decline of regulation, entitled ‘Better Regulation: Better for Whom?’, found that between 2004 and 2013 there were 34% fewer food standards inspections and 28% fewer prosecutions, while the average business can now expect a local authority health and safety inspection only once in every 20 years. 

The report, published by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and written by Professor Steve Tombs, argues that this situation is the result of the privatisation of regulatory and enforcement activities, and a shift to business self-regulation.

Professor Tombs said: ‘This is not about rules, regulations and red tape. It is about lives lost and shortened and the health of communities, workers and consumers made poorer.  This is avoidable business-generated, state facilitated social murder. And quite remarkably, it proceeds daily, met largely by political silence.’ 

Read the report and read more at localgov.co.uk

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Decline in regulation is ‘social murder’, report claims

CoE offers its spires as beacons for those without fast broadband

The Church of England (CoE) has created guidelines so 10,000 rural churches may be used to provide wireless internet access to help meet PM’s vow 

The Guardian’s Damian Carrington writes:
‘Salhouse is among 47 churches in Norfolk that provide a broadband service though WiSpire, which is owned by the Church of England

The medieval church spires of rural England are to bring superfast broadband to the remotest of dwellings, with the Church of England offering their use as communication towers.’

Find out about the WiSpire service

Read the Guardian article

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on CoE offers its spires as beacons for those without fast broadband

Call for Entries- RIBA Research Awards 2016

The RIBA President’s Awards for Research promote and celebrate the best of research in the field of architecture and the built environment that contributes to new knowledge and understanding in architecture and the practice of architecture, with the deadline for submissions is midnight, Thursday, 30 June 2016.

The RIBA writes:
The RIBA is now welcoming entries for the 2016 RIBA President’s Awards for Research which include the new RIBA President’s Research Medal. The RIBA will be accepting research submissions from right across the built environment sector and beyond; recognising the interdisciplinary nature of architectural research.

The RIBA President’s Awards for Research are designed to promote and celebrate the best of research in the field of architecture and the built environment that contributes to new knowledge and understanding in architecture and the practice of architecture. Projects are judged by a distinguished panel of experts in four categories:
• History and Theory
• Design and Technical
• Cities and Community
• Annual Theme – Learning through Projects

Submissions are welcome from all levels and spheres of architectural and built environment research. Entries from the prevoius categories of research masters, PhD, university-located academics and practice-based researchers are encouraged, as well as collaborative research projects. To see a list of previous winners please click here. Please note the change in submission format detailed below.

The main body of the application requires the submission of:
• 300 word Abstract
• 1,000 word Research Statement
• 5,000 to 10,000 word research document

The President’s Medal for Research will be awarded to the submission judged to be the best across all categories. The medal was designed in partnership by Nicola Moss and Simon Beeson in 2015 following an open competition.

Winners in each category will receive a certificate and a citation from the RIBA President.

All submissions must be entered online.

If you have any queries about the awards, please call 020 7307 3749.

For more information please see our Call for Entries and Further Information and Guidelines

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Call for Entries- RIBA Research Awards 2016

IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2016: Your chance to showcase your work

GASA_logo_260416The closing date for the IHBC’s 2016 Gus Astley Student Awards is fast approaching, so if you have presented coursework on a taught course in the last two years that you think merits wider recognition by us, be sure to submit it by 31 July.

This year, as ever, a cash prize of £500 is on offer to the winner, with smaller awards to any commended entries, alongside free places at the IHBC’s 2017 Annual School, valued at around £500, so awardees can receive their prizes in person at the School Dinner in Manchester in June 2017.

And if you want a taster of the 2017 School, why not book in on the 2016 School, coming up in Worcester.  There are even bursaries still available still for those on low wages.

Some details of the IHBC Student Awards
The Student Award is presented for an outstanding item of taught-coursework accepted as part of either under-graduate or post-graduate courses ending in the academic years either to 31 July 2015 OR 31 July 2016.

The subject should relate to one aspect or more of ‘Built or Historic Environment Conservation’ in its widest sense, including, for example, its evaluation (eg history, research or surveying), management (eg policy, finance, planning or operations such as site management), and/ or implementation (eg design, technology or architecture).

Submission for this award is ONLY available online, but if your coursework can’t be easily digitised, we’re happy to receive a suitable digital record of it, such as a film record, just as long as the record can be authenticated by your course tutor in accordance with our guidance.

See a list of past winners

Find out more about the awards and how to enter on the Gus Astley Student Award website

Read IHBC NewsBlogs on GASA

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off on IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2016: Your chance to showcase your work