‘Thatch & planning policy’: IHBC Research Note update

IHBC’s Research Consultant Bob Kindred is continuing to develop the IHBC Research Note on re-thatching issues under current planning policy, and is seeking information on relevant cases from members and colleagues.

Bob Kindred said: ‘One of the lines of research IHBC is currently looking at stems from recent members’ concerns about outcomes arising from planning and listed building applications for changes of materials used in re-thatching and questions of the harm to character and appearance.’

‘This issue may be best being captured in appeal decision letters issued by England’s Planning Inspectorate (PINS), but there may be relevant cases from anywhere in the UK.’

‘So if any members have any thatching-related appeal decisions, or comparable information, that highlight aspects of loss of local distinctiveness etc., I would be grateful if you would forward cases for review’.

To alert Bob to a case that might be relevant please send all the details to him digitally at research@ihbc.org.uk.

Read the orginal NewsBlog

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Ian Lush to leave AHF

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is to leave his position in November.

Ian writes:
… I will be leaving the Architectural Heritage Fund at the end of November, by which time I will have been the AHF’s Chief Executive for 11 years.

The reason for my departure is that I have been appointed as Chief Executive of the Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which supports the work of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, formed in 2007 from the merger of St Mary’s, Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s and the Western Eye Hospital….

Some of you will know that I have had an interest in the healthcare sector for some time, not least through my voluntary work with Great Ormond Street Hospital where I am currently Lead Governor of the Foundation Trust, and this exciting role seemed the ideal opportunity to move into a new area of work whilst retaining my interest in supporting communities

I did also want to say that having moved into the heritage sector from the arts in 2003, I was made to feel very welcome very quickly, and I will always remain grateful for that.  I look forward to catching up with people before I leave.

For the AHF see http://www.ahfund.org.uk

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Prime Minister appoints Interim Chair to NHMF

Until a new Chair is appointed, Dame Seona Reid becomes Interim Chair at the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), a body set-up in 1980 to save the most outstanding parts of our heritage at risk of loss to the nation as a memorial to those who have given their lives for the UK.

Dame Seona retired as Director of Glasgow School of Art in 2013 after 14 years. She had previously held senior roles at major arts institutions including the Scottish Arts Council, Greater London Arts and Ballet Rambert. She is currently Chair of the National Theatre of Scotland and of Cove Park, an artist residency centre. She is also a Tate Trustee and a member of the Universities UK Creative Industries Project Steering Group.

Dame Seona is the senior Deputy Chair at NHMF. The process of recruiting a new Chair for NHMF, to succeed Dame Jenny Abramsky DBE who completed her term of appointment on 31 August 2014, is currently under way and is expected to be completed by December 2014.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund was set-up in 1980 to save the most outstanding parts of our heritage at risk of loss to the nation, as a memorial to those who have given their lives for the UK. The Fund receives grant-in-aid from the government. It also administers the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, with around £375 million a year to distribute.

UK Gov news

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New CPRE housing paper: 27,000 homes ‘Targeting the Countryside’

Steep Government targets for the amount of land councils must allocate for housing are opening the door to major housing developments in the countryside, according to new research by Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) which shows that new planning rules have seen 27,000 homes approved against local authority wishes.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) writes:
A new research paper from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published today shows that steep targets for the amount of land councils must allocate for housing are opening the door to major housing developments in the countryside.

The paper, ‘Targeting the countryside’, studies the appeal decisions on applications for major housing developments on greenfield land between March 2012 and May 2014. It finds that planning inspectors overturned the decisions of local councils in 72 per cent of cases where there was no defined land supply. 27,000 houses were granted planning permission in this way – which is around 8.5 per cent of all houses planned across the country in that period.

Introduced in March 2012, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local councils to demonstrate a five year land supply for housing in an attempt to boost house building. Councils without a local plan are powerless to decide where developments should go in their area, but only 17.6 per cent of councils have had plans approved by Government. This is often due to the onerous criteria in constructing viable plans.

Furthermore, those who have not managed to meet their targets face the punishment of finding an extra 20 per cent of land as a ‘buffer’ to ensure ‘choice and competition’.

Targeting the countryside is based on research which looked at 309 planning appeal decisions from every region of England between March 2012 and May 2014 where local councils had rejected applications for developments of 10 or more houses on greenfield land. The research also shows that one in six local refusals was overturned by a planning inspector even when a council was meeting its targets.

John Rowley, planning officer at the Campaign to Protect Rural England who coordinated the report, comments:  ‘These figures show that current policy is encouraging unnecessary house building in the countryside against the wishes of local people. We need to see a more transparent and less punitive system which does not allow unrealistic housing targets to override local concerns.

‘The Government should remove the automatic presumption for development where there is no five year land supply. It should also immediately stop demanding an extra 20 per cent housing requirement from councils already struggling to meet targets.

‘We support the Government’s desire to simplify planning and meet the urgent need for new homes. Yet councils must be provided with detailed guidance on housing targets, and brownfield land must be prioritised so that unnecessary greenfield development is not so blatantly and regularly allowed through the back door.’

Read the full press release including key regional statistics

Download ‘targeting the countryside’ report  

Construction Enquirer article

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THA calls for trustee nominations

The Heritage Alliance (THA) has issued a call for trustees, inviting suitable candidates from a range of heritage backgrounds to submit a nomination by 30 September 2014.

THA writes:
… The Alliance is looking for candidates preferably but not essentially with knowledge and experience of these areas:

  • Historic Religious Buildings Access, Education and Interpretation
  • Fundraising and/or Change Management

All nominations should give the individual’s contact details and carry a short background note and/or cv in support, explaining their suitability for the post.

View the call for trustees and full instructions on how to apply (including role descriptions) at THA

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London campaign for ‘pop up’ National Trust home

The National Trust is running a competition to add one ordinary home to its London portfolio, through an online gallery submission process, with a deadline for entries of 12 October 2014.

The NT writes:
#NTHouseproud is a social media experiment that captures and celebrates a unique moment in history—this one. We’re interested in how Londoners live in 2014 and the ways we exploit and design our living spaces.

One lucky winner will.. have the chance for their home to receive the full National Trust Treatment for one weekend. The winning home will go down in history as the National Trust’s 13th London Property and join the Big Brother House as No.2 on an elite list of pop-up National Trust properties.

Find out more about the competition at NT Houseproud

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UK Prefab Museum battles for survival with Kickstarter campaign

A museum celebrating the humble prefab house is battling for survival in South East London. 

Culture24 writes:
They were only supposed to last a decade or so while Britain recovered from the ravages of six years of warfare. But many of the prefabricated homes built to house key workers and returning servicemen and their families after World War II endured for the rest of the century.

Part of the Temporary Housing Programme, more than 150,000 prefabricated buildings were erected all over the UK between 1946-8. In a few hundred cases these simple two-bedroomed ‘prefab’ bungalows can still be seen today, standing as a symbol of post-war Britain and its slow recovery from austerity and rationing.

Now the humble prefab is being celebrated in London as a group of artists and locals fight to save one of the last remaining examples, on a housing estate in Catford, with the help of a new Kickstarter campaign.

The Prefab Museum is the vision of photojournalist and curator Elisabeth Blanchet and Jane Hearn, a community development professional who has worked with residents of the local Excalibur and Downham estates for more than 20 years.

With 186 prefab bungalows still standing at the beginning of 2014, the Excalibur Estate is the largest remaining estate of post war prefabs in the UK. Demolition began in July 2014, and the estate is due to be cleared by 2019.

The museum was originally opened in March 2014 as a pop-up museum offering a blend of temporary art exhibitions and social histories. Its organisers say interest has been so great that they want to keep it open and continue sharing the history of the prefab for future generations.

‘It’s been such a success over the past few months and now we’re coming to a crossroads where we need to support it,’ says Hearn.

‘We’ve had great support and feedback from the public; they want to come back and bring their friends and their relatives.

‘Now we need a bit of money to keep going. If we’re going to continue we need support.’

The fundraising campaign is looking to raise £15,000 to enable the museum to stay open and free over the next few months as they put together funding applications and continue talks with the local council and other funding bodies.

The long-term aim is to preserve it as a place where residents and visitors can be part of a living archive of life on the local estates via a collection of oral histories, photographs, artworks and films recalling the post war period. 

  • The Prefab Museum is taking part in Open House London 2014 on September 20-21.

Find out more at www.prefabmuseum.uk and make a donation HERE

Culture 24 article

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England consultation: Housing Standards Review

A new unified set of standards for new build housing is proposed for England, with five key standards to unify the approach taken throughout the country, with the consultation to close on 7 November.

Government writes:
A package of measures published today (12 September 2014) will save housebuilders and councils £114 million per year by cutting red tape while ensuring homes are still built to demanding standards, particularly on security, wheelchair accessibility and space.

The current system of rules on how new homes can be built encourages wide differences across the country with councils able to select from a range of standards in a ‘pick and mix’ approach that gives an unlimited number of permutations in local rules. This creates cost, uncertainty, bureaucracy and duplication for housebuilders. The government is consulting today on the details of how it will consolidate this mass of standards into a core range of 5 standards.

Current housing standards required of new development can be unworkable, including demands for solar and wind energy sources that can’t physically fit onto the roofs of apartment buildings, or unnecessary including compliance regimes which add thousands to the cost of building a new home without any benefit.

The remaining core of 5 standards will cover:

  • security: introducing a national regulation on security standards in all new homes to protect families from burglary
  • space: for the first time ever, a national, cross tenure space standard that local authorities and communities can choose to use to influence the size of new homes in their local area
  • age friendly housing: new optional building regulations for accessible and adaptable mainstream housing to meet the needs of older and disabled people
  • wheelchair user housing: the introduction for the first time of an optional building regulation setting standards for wheelchair housing.
  • water efficiency: the ability to set higher water efficiency standards in areas of water shortage

This is the first time national standards for security, wheelchair accessible housing and internal space have been drawn up.

The consultation published today (12/09/14) seeks views on the detailed technical requirements supporting this new approach to housing quality.

The government proposal is for the security standards to become a new mandatory regulation, and for councils to be able to decide whether to apply the other remaining standards to developments built in their areas.

In addition a new zero carbon homes standard will come into force through the building regulations from 2016, building on the 30% energy efficiency improvements already introduced into building regulations in 2010 and 2013. These changes are already saving householders up to £200 on energy bills

Press release on boosting housebuilding 

Link to consultation

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A+DS invites entries for Stalled Spaces initiative

Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) is inviting local authorities across Scotland to take part in the ‘Stalled Spaces’ initiative, which is open for entries until 10am on 20 October 2014.

A+DS writes:
Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) is inviting local authorities across Scotland to take part in Stalled Spaces Scotland, a Legacy 2014 programme aimed at supporting local authorities and communities to bring derelict and vacant land back in to temporary use to benefit communities and enhance town centres.

To align with the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan and the Town Centre First Principle the programme will primarily look at stalled spaces located within town centres to empower people to bring these spaces back into positive use for the benefit for the whole community.

Starting in the summer of 2014 A+DS will support the development of up to 30 Stalled Spaces sites across Scotland by December 2016. A+DS will take forward a programme of consultation with local authorities. Later in the year we will host a seminar to inspire and support local authorities, business improvement groups and communities to take their own projects forward.

Find out more about the initiative and the venues for events on the A+DS website

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Welsh Government commissions research into HMOs

New research into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is to be undertaken by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government writes:
Housing Minister, Carl Sargeant announced that the Welsh Government has commissioned research into the impact of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

In addition to collecting evidence, the research will examine how local authorities are tackling problems caused by high concentrations of HMOs in their area.

Carl Sargeant said: ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation make an important contribution to the private rented sector in many parts of Wales but it is clear that high concentrations of them can affect the stability of the local community.

‘While HMOs provide much needed housing for specific groups, such as students, these homes are often lived in only during term time, when issues such as increased waste and noise may be more apparent.

‘I know many Assembly Members have received letters from residents concerned about HMOs in their areas and in towns with a large university population, such as Cardiff and Swansea, this is an issue for many people.

‘The research I have commissioned from Opinion Research Services (ORS) will look at the nature of the problem and suggest potential solutions.

‘The study will also review the different approaches taken by local authorities with high concentrations of HMOs before the research is completed early next year’

IHBC newsblogs on housing

Welsh Government news

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Join in our membership support day: tune in online, on twitter and on Friday!

Wherever you are, on Friday 12 September, you can use our twitter feed, linked from our web page and at #ihbctweet, to join in the IHBC’s first national day dedicated to helping practitioners from all disciplines apply for full membership of the IHBC. 

IHBC Chair Mike Brown said: ‘As it’s taking place in Derby, and needs time out from a working day, it means that many won’t be able to participate personally in this event, but don’t worry.  Not only is this a pilot to help develop similar local Branch days, but it’s possible for anyone to tune in to the day by following us on our twitter feed at #ihbctweet.’

‘We’ll also have a range of the IHBC’s staff, senior officers and volunteers on hand to help explain the process, as well as guide delegates and answer questions.’

IHBC Membership Secretary Paul Butler said: ‘The process and requirements for membership will be explained, explored and analysed and delegates will leave equipped with a better understanding of how to develop skills to become a full member of the IHBC and how to express those skills effectively in any application form for IHBC membership.’

IHBC East Midlands Branch Chair, and Chair for the event, Liz Mayle, said: ‘The East Midlands Branch is very pleased to host this special training event.  We hope it will provide members with clear information about the benefits of becoming a full member of the IHBC and how to increase and build on key skills and experience to complete the IHBC’s membership requirements.’

See what’s happening using our twitter feed at #ihbctweet

See our routes to membership 

Download our membership application form, guidance for applicants or join or explore membership HERE

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