PLACE Alliance highlights importance of art and artists in placemaking

PLACE Alliance – England’s link group for ‘place-related’ interests, of which IHBC is a member – has released a new manifesto called ‘Artists & the Arts in Placemaking’, calling for the importance of culture in placemaking to be recognised and no longer seen as ‘an optional extra’, and the inclusion of public art and the arts in local and neighbourhood plans. 

The PLACE Alliance writes:

We Believe…..

  • The consideration of culture through the public arts should be seen as a joyful obligation that is fundamental, not ornamental, to every significant initiative impacting the public realm.
  • The public arts have the potential to help regenerate and revitalise all of our urban spaces, towns, and parks, and to play a vital role in stimulating a successful people-centred economy in the service of a democratic society.
  • Artists can contribute creative thinking, design and placemaking skills; help engage people of all ages and backgrounds in discussing, understanding, planning, and designing the public realm; help animate and enhance a meaningful sense of place through their individual vision, permanent or temporary art, performance, and street arts.
  • The public arts should be defined as anything that artists can do, plan, instigate, design, produce, stimulate and contribute, working with citizens, communities and other professionals, in the context of the built environment and place.
  • Like placemaking, the public arts are the concern of everyone — citizens, institutions, agencies, the creative industries, property developers, community groups, and leaders, as well as politicians in national and local government.

View the full manifesto 

View more information about the PLACE Alliance and working groups 

IHBC newsblogs on the PLACE Alliance 

IHBC newsblogs on the Farrell Review

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Local Authority reserves stats, including planning: disputed by LGA

Statistics issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) indicate that 444 local authorities hold £22.5 billion in non-ringfenced reserves – figures disputed ‘misleading’ by the Local Government Association (LGA) – while from 2000-01 to 2014-15 local authority spending has risen by 20.5% and a more detailed analysis of net current expenditure by service in England shows expenditure on Planning and development services has been reduced by £66 million between 2013/14 and 2014/15.

The LGA said: ‘These figures are hugely misleading and the suggestion that they prove councils are able to absorb further funding cuts is wrong’.

DCLG writes:
In the last 15 years, the amount held by local authorities in their non-ringfenced reserves has increased significantly – by nearly 170% in real terms.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said that he recognises the need for councils to be responsible with taxpayers’ money and save for the future but they should also make efficient use of their assets and resources to best meet the needs of their local communities.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: ‘With local government accounting for a quarter of all public spending, it is right that they are called on to play their part in dealing with the deficit.  Today’s figures show how they are well placed to do so, with local authorities holding £22.5 billion held in non-ringfenced reserves – up 170% in real terms over the last 15 years.  As we continue to secure our country’s economic future and cut the deficit, now is the time to make efficient use of their assets and resources to provide the services local people want to see.’ 

Today’s figures show that over the past year, local authorities added nearly £1 billion more to their non-ringfenced reserves – taking the total to £22.5 billion.  This is up from the £13 billion local authorities held in 2010.  Today’s local authority revenue expenditure and financing statistics include this statement:

  • In real terms from 2000-01 to 2014-15, revenue expenditure (local authority spending) has risen by 20.5%, government grants awarded to local authorities have risen by 21.1%, and Council Tax has risen by 21.4%. In real terms, non-ringfenced reserves have increased by 169.9% from 1 April 2001 to 1 April 2014.

Public satisfaction with local services has increased over the past 5 years.

UK Gov news

Explore the statistics in more detail

View statistics for planning and related services

LGA news

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Promote your Historic Environment event via HE

As part of Historic England’s (HE) role to encourage people to get more involved with their heritage, it is creating a new section on its website that will list events with wide public appeal.

If you have a national or regional heritage event that you would like included in this new section, please send details to:

Please include:

  • Name of event
  • Date/s
  • Location/s
  • A brief description of the event (no more than one or two sentences)
  • Link to further information 

View the Heritage Alliance bulletins

Promote your event through IHBC Events

Advertise paid or unpaid job opportunities through IHBC Jobs etc

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NI Planning Stats show reduction in decisions issued

The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland (DOENI) ‘Planning Statistics – 2015/16 First Quarterly Bulletin’ has been published and shows a reduction in decisions which have been issued since the transfer of planning powers to Councils. 

DOENI writes:
The Northern Ireland Planning Statistics – 2015/16 First Quarterly Bulletin is published today. The first quarterly provisional figures to be released since the transfer of planning powers to councils show that, for the period April – June 2015, the total number of decisions issued was down by over one-quarter to 2,013 compared to the same time last year. This represents a 10 year low in the series which had previously shown signs of levelling out and followed a longer term downward trend, in parallel with falling applications, apparent since the onset of the recession in 2006/07. The number of applications received also reduced between equivalent quarters, this year and last, but were down by a much less significant 5% to 3,188.

Whilst, overall, the average processing time for Local Development decisions has shown only a small increase, from 18.6 weeks across Northern Ireland in the quarter immediately preceding the transfer of planning powers, to 19.0 weeks across all councils in this first quarter of 2015/16, it was almost six weeks longer when compared to the same time last year. This masks a wide variation between councils ranging from 13.1 weeks, on average, in Fermanagh & Omagh to 28.4 weeks in Newry, Mourne and Down. Nine of the eleven councils were not meeting the 15 week statutory processing target during this first quarter. It is important to be aware, however, that many of the applications that had a decision issued during this period will have previously been processed to some extent within the Department before being transferred to councils for completion.

The key points to note in the bulletin are:

  • The number of planning applications received in Northern Ireland in the period April to June 2015 was 3,188, a decrease of 5% compared to the same period in 2014/15, and comprised 3,091 Local Development, 94 Major Development and 3 Regionally Significant Development applications.
  • The number of planning applications decided was 2,013, the lowest in this ten year series and a marked decrease of over one-quarter (27%) compared to the same period in 2014/15. This was the sharpest quarterly decline in decisions in the series but was not driven by a similar fall in applications received. No Regionally Significant Development applications were decided during the first quarter.
  • The average processing time to decide Major Development applications was 37.6 weeks across all councils. This was nine weeks longer than the Northern Ireland processing time for the same quarter last year; however, it is an improvement of almost six weeks from the final quarter of 2014/15.
  • The average processing time to decide Local Development applications was 19.0 weeks across all councils, up slightly on the 18.6 weeks recorded in the final quarter of 2014/15 for Northern Ireland, but almost six weeks longer when compared to Q1 last year. This ranged from 13.1 weeks in Fermanagh and Omagh to 28.4 weeks in Newry, Mourne and Down.
  • The time taken to process 70% of enforcement cases to target conclusion across all councils was 33.6 weeks, over five weeks better than the 39 week target and an improvement of just over three weeks on the 36.8(r) weeks achieved in the equivalent quarter last year for Northern Ireland. At council level, the shortest time taken to conclude 70% of cases was 14.3 weeks in Antrim and Newtownabbey whilst the longest was 55.9 weeks in Newry, Mourne and Down.
  • The overall approval rate for all planning applications dropped by just under one percentage point to just over 94% compared to the equivalent quarter last year.

At a Northern Ireland level, the number of live applications greater than one year old at the end of June 2015 was 1,128. This continues the five year downward trend in the proportion of older applications with now 1 in 7 applications taking over one year to process compared with 1 in 3 at the end of June 2010.

View the press release

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NT Coastal Action

The National Trust has issued a call to action to government and agencies across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure climate change is addressed appropriately.

The National Trust writes:
We’re calling for the Government and agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to act now to ensure the coast is ready for the enormous challenges presented by severe storms and rising sea levels.  Our research has revealed that 12,500 new homes and businesses have been built in coastal areas at risk of significant erosion or flooding over the last decade despite a range of national guidance strongly advising against such developments.  And, only one in three coastal planning authorities in England have the most up-to-date planning policy in place to deal with rising sea levels and more frequent storms.

In 2013 and 2014, the coastline around the UK was battered by a series of storms and high tides which resulted in levels of erosion and flooding experts would usually expect to see every five to 15 years.

In the coming years extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent, affecting people and natural habitats putting coastal wildlife at risk.

In our new report ‘shifting shores – playing our part at the coast’, we are calling for a bold and imaginative approach to coastline management, involving an understanding of how nature works, moving towards adaptation and away from maintaining engineered defences, where appropriate, while being sensitive to community needs.

We’ll be putting this approach into practice with a commitment to have plans in place for 80 of our coastal areas by 2020.

‘We know how difficult taking the adaptive approach can be, despite all the good policy guidance that now exists,’ said Phil Dyke, our coastal marine adviser. ‘But action is now needed by all coastal stakeholders to manage the threats to our beautiful and diverse coast to prevent us drifting into a future where our coast is a rim of concrete.’  Where coastal areas are at risk, we also want to ensure there is space and land to help with a managed realignment; rolling back and relocating buildings, infrastructure, shoreline and habitats.  We also favour an approach where large areas of the coast are viewed as a whole to create more joined up and better managed stretches of coastline.

We want to work in partnership with a wide range of local landowners, communities and groups to deliver a joined up approach to managing coastal change, which works for all the parties involved.

‘The harsh truth is that our natural environment is in poor health – wildlife is in decline, over-worked soils are being washed out to sea and climate change is becoming an increasing threat,’ explained Peter Nixon,director of land, landscape and nature.  ‘The complex and ever-changing challenges we face on the coastline can only be addressed by working in partnership with others. We can’t and won’t ever succeed on our own.  Above all we need to understand the forces of nature at work, so that we can all make well-informed choices about whether and where to continue maintaining hard defences or to adapt to and work with natural processes.’

View the press release

IHBC NewsBlogs on coastal issues

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IHBC NI and NIAPT: ‘Promoting New Partnerships’ together

The IHBC’s Northern Ireland (NI) Branch and the Northern Ireland Committee of the Association of Preservation Trusts (NIAPT) held their first joint conference at Hillsborough Castle on 10 November, discussing how building preservation trusts can work with partners to promote positive building conservation work and help projects happen on the ground across Northern Ireland.

IHBC President David McDonald said: ‘It was a privilege to meet members of the Northern Ireland Branch and I was greatly impressed by their professionalism in dealing with the recent administrative changes to planning and conservation in the Province.  The dedication and enthusiasm of the local building preservation trusts and their achievements with limited resources was quite inspiring.’

IHBC NI Branch Chair Andrew McClelland said: ‘The Northern Ireland Branch was delighted to partner with the Association of Preservation Trusts in bringing together the days events at Hillsborough Castle. The turnout exceeded expectations and it was particularly pleasing to have such a strong local and national representation from the IHBC and to tie-in with the UK Policy Committee meeting.’

Fiona Newton, IHBC Operations Director, writes:
Both the IHBC’s Branch and the NIAPT held their respective AGMs at the same venue on Tuesday 10th November.  The venue was the historic estate of Hillsborough Castle, while the two groups met separately before joining as joint hosts of the first Annual Conference – ‘Thinking about a way forward for Building Preservation Trusts in Northern Ireland’The IHBC’s UK wide interests were represented by the attendance of IHBC President David McDonald; Chair Mike Brown; Vice Chair Kathy Davies, and Policy Secretary David Kincaid , along with other members of the IHBC’s Policy Committee which also met in the Castle as part of a linked programme adding capacity and value to the day.

The theme for the conference aligned with the recent APT NI study of the Building Preservation Trust sector in Northern Ireland – ‘Building Preservation Trusts in Northern Ireland: Promoting New Partnerships’.  Iain Greenway, Senior Responsible Owner for the new Department of Communities who described his vision for the new Department and for wider conservation activities in Northern Ireland.   Elizabeth Perkins of the UK APT described the renewal and potential rebranding of the APT, Dr James Moir author of the recent NI BPT study described the ways a project can go, the relationships needed and the pitfalls and John Blair from Historic Royal Palaces looking at the works carried out at Hillsborough since Historic Royal Palaces have taken it on and what is proposed for the future.  Other speakers included Harry McDaid from Ulster Community Investment Trust and Tiziana O’Hara from Cooperative Alternatives.  The talks were followed by a panel discussion.

IHBC Northern Ireland Branch

APT Northern Ireland

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IHBC’s Course Connection Day 2015: A big thanks to students

IHBC Conservation Course Connection Day

IHBC Conservation Course Connection Day 2015

The IHBC offers a big ‘Thank you’ to all who came along to the third annual Conservation Course Connection Day in Birmingham on Wednesday 18 November, which was well attended with students on courses from across the UK coming from places as far apart as Aberdeen, Cardiff and Kent as well as Italy and Romania, and of course Birmingham itself!

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘It was great to see such interest and enthusiasm.  The diverse backgrounds of delegates reflected especially well the broad variety of specialist interests in conservation.  This really characterises our discipline and its operations: with backgrounds ranging from materials conservation to art installations; and demolition to architectural design’.

‘Indeed we’re delighted to be able to offer this unique day of free learning, guidance and networking to student representatives on conservation and related courses from across the UK.  And with the continued positive feedback on this programme, I’m sure that our annual ‘Conservation Course Connection Day’ will be running long into the future.’

‘Indeed we hope it will be recognised just as substantially as our Gus Astley Student Award: a key moment in an individual’s career progress, whatever their final path, where the IHBC has been there to help offer a sharp eye on conservation practice, and raise awareness of all the complexities and richness of the world that shapes its practice!’

Those who attended came from a wide variety of backgrounds, including art history, engineering, object conservation, town planning and building trades, some were full time students whilst others studied part time and travelled to their studies for a few days a week. Many combined study and work, some of whom already worked in a heritage related field, whilst others were looking for heritage sector related work experience and volunteer opportunities.

Interim feedback comments from delegates include:

  • Lots of information provided and a good introduction to the IHBC
  • Informative and friendly
  • Very useful and motivating meeting
  • I was really happy with the informal presentations and friendly manner of everybody
  • Thank you for an e-mail and links to presentations. It will be very useful for preparing one for other students. Meeting was great, I really enjoyed it.

The aim of the day was not to promote joining IHBC (though of course, it would be welcome if all the students joined!), it was about giving access to conservation resources and networking opportunities as well as promoting discussion about conservation and its role in society and the various career paths available for future conservation professionals.

IHBC publish a huge range of resources which are useful for students of conservation and those interested in heritage, which will be especially welcome for those planning a dissertation or literature review, or considering their future career paths for example:

A video featuring some of the participants at the day will be published shortly, along with a Storify of the day (gathering tweets from the event) and presentations for downloading.

Participants of the event can also contribute to feedback via the IHBC online survey

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IHBC consults on CP20’s working draft ‘Action Plan’

The IHBC has released a working draft delivery and reporting plan for its current Corporate Plan 2015-20, or ‘CP20’, following months of development and consultation among trustees and colleagues, and is now asking members interested in these matters for their thoughts.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘In this draft document we’re looking at how we can ensure we operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.  That way we can make best use of all our resources, including volunteer, officer and staff time, not to mention the fees our members provide.’

‘Of course, in line with the ‘experimental evolution’ of our new IHBC+ programme, we’re especially keen to encourage any members with interests in ‘corporate’ matters like this to get more involved directly with the discussions, but without the requirement to sit through the time-consuming tedium of the meetings that are essential in the preparation and oversight of internal documents such as these.’

‘As this is a working document too, members can be confident that we are able to take on board any comments that will help us deliver better on the commitments we all made when adopting the Corporate plan at our last AGM.

‘So if you do have an interest in these aspects of our operations, please let us know by contacting a Branch or Committee trustee, as relevant, or myself at’.

For more contacts with officers see IHBC Branches and IHBC Committees

DOWNLOAD the working draft

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IHBC welcomes Civic Societies’ APPG focus on conservation capacity impacts

The IHBC has welcomed the decision taken at the first meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Civic Societies to include in its forward planning a focus on the impact of the loss of conservation staff.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘ We’re delighted that the longstanding importance we have always attached to informed, specialist and independent public oversight in the conservation of our heritage is recognised clearly by the decision of the APPG to include in its immediate priorities the impact of the loss of conservation staff.’

‘The data that the IHBC has collected since 2006, funded by what is now Historic England, means the institute has traced the sad depletion of that critical local service infrastructure.  Perhaps the focus of the APPG, ably supported by Civic Voice, will help people better understand the great value offered by that often imperilled infrastructure.’

‘And while no organisation is more energetic than the IHBC in exploring new ways to deliver the necessary levels of protection and oversight, we should not forget either that any complacency over the service reduction may well lead not only to the loss of our heritage, but to avoidable criminal proceedings!’

Civic Voice writes of the APPG:
The recommendations from the meetings concluded that the groups aim over the next 6 months should be to focus on the historic environment. The meetings during the coming year should specifically reference the impact of the loss of conservation staff, the importance of community involvement in local heritage listing and the impact of development on Cathedral cities.

For more background on the Civic Voice programme

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HES draft Corporate Plan consultation

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has released its first public consultation which is seeking views about the Corporate Plan, by 8 February 2016. 

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) writes:
People across Scotland are being asked for views on how the past is shaping our present and future.  Today (Monday 16th November), Scotland’s new lead heritage body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) launches its first public consultation on a draft Corporate Plan, which outlines the organisation’s approach to safeguarding some of the country’s most precious assets over the next three years.

The new organisation – which came into effect on the 1st October- has brought together two of Scotland’s leading heritage bodies, Historic Scotland and The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments Scotland (RCAHMS) to create a new organisation at the heart of a sector which contributes £2.3 billion annually to Scotland’s GVA and helps to support over 60,000 jobs.

Historic Environment Scotland has over 300 properties in its care ranging from Edinburgh Castle, to hidden gems up and down the country, as well as extensive archives and collections. Its employees have skills ranging from conservation to aerial surveying, allowing the new body to play a key role in helping to deliver Scotland’s first strategy for the Historic Environment, ‘Our Place in Time’.

A key aim of the new body, and the strategy, is to work in collaboration with others to engage individuals and groups from volunteers to communities across Scotland, to enhance the cultural, social and economic benefits of Scotland’s heritage.

The consultation launches on 16 November 2015 and will run until week commencing 8 February 2016. To be part of the future of how we tell Scotland’s story, please visit or join in the conversation on twitter by tweeting us @histenvscot and using the hashtag #HESstory. 

View the press release and Corporate Plan

View and follow the HES Twitter Feed

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Give a ‘High Five to Heritage’- Prospect

The Prospect Union for Professionals has launched a new campaign urging those passionate about heritage to support their #High5Heritage project which protests at cuts proposed in the forthcoming spending review. 

Prospect writes:
Prospect is urging members and the wider public to support its new #High5Heritage campaign warning the chancellor that further cuts to the heritage sector in his spending review on November 25 would be a false economy.

The union, which represents more than 6,000 specialists across the sector, from archaeologists and conservators to museum and gallery assistants, points to research suggesting that for every £1 invested, the economy gets up to £5 in return.

Prospect negotiator Sarah Ward, said: ‘The heritage sector, which includes museums, galleries, historic gardens, and library collections, has already had to absorb significant cuts in public funding over the last five years.  ‘We are not asking for handouts. The sector has been working hard to increase revenues from commercial sources, but on their own these are insufficient to sustain heritage in the near term.  Heritage funding should be regarded as a good investment, which more than pays for itself through a multiplier effect. Tourism is a great example of this, where those drawn to the country by its rich cultural heritage spend significant amounts of money on hotels, restaurants, and shopping.   The sector’s ability to contribute to the economy in this way has already been weakened by government funding cuts and the very real fear is that further cuts will cause irreparable damage to Britain’s reputation as a world-class destination for heritage.’

One of the best ways you can show your support is by tweeting a selfie giving a ‘high-five’ to @ProspectUnion using the #High5Heritage hashtag, telling us why you think George Osborne should keep his hands off heritage in the spending review.

The spending review will set out the government’s four-year plan for reducing spending by £20bn. Unprotected departments such as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have been asked to table proposals for spending cuts of between 25-40%.  Last year Prospect published a report, Heritage in a Cold Climate, looking at how the sector is already being affected by spending cuts.

More information on Prospect and Heritage

View the 2014 Heritage in a Cold Climate report 

Prospect Org news

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Reading conservation areas and HMO’s

Reading Borough Council has been assessing its conservation areas and, as well as considering the character and appearance of the areas, it is also looking to assess opinions on HMO’s (Houses in Multiple Occupation) within these areas and the possibility of introducing an Article 4 to manage these. 

Reading Borough Council writes:
Measures to enhance and protect Reading’s Conservation Areas within the borough are to be considered by councillors.  The areas are designated by the council as being of special architectural or historic interest where the character and appearance should be conserved and enhanced.

However, concerns have been raised about the increasing number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) being created in these areas and about the decline in their general appearance.

Members of the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport committee will consider plans to tackle these concerns and specific proposals to protect Jesse Terrace from a proliferation of HMOs.  Council officers have set up a working group to work with the Baker Street Area Neighbourhood Association (BSANA) and other groups to look at priorities for environmental action and improvements.

Representatives of Historic England have also attended meetings to offer advice on how to proceed with plans to protect Conservation Areas.  Some common concerns raised included conversion of houses into HMOs, issues with car parking, the loss and alteration of front walls to provide off-street parking and poor quality of new developments.

Councillors are being asked to approve a pilot project in which officers will undertake a review of the Castle Hill/Russell Street Conservation Area Appraisal to help develop a methodology for undertaking similar reviews in other areas.  The review will provide an up to date assessment of the Conservation Area and identify priorities for future action to maintain and enhance it. However, current pressure on resources means there will be a dependence on assistance from volunteers, community organisations and Historic England.  The committee will also hear about the possible controls over inappropriate changes, such as the loss of front walls, which would otherwise be permitted without the need for planning permission.

A separate measure is being considered specifically for Jesse Terrace in response to a petition received by the council in March, highlighting concerns about the increasing number of HMOs in the area.  Census information shows the general area of the Castle Hill/Russell Street Conservation Area, in which Jesse Terrace lies, has a relatively high proportion of HMOs which is having a detrimental impact on the area.

The committee is being asked to approve the making of a ‘non-immediate Article 4 Direction’ to remove permitted development rights to convert property into HMOs. While this will not ban the future creation of HMOs it means planning permission will be required. There is already an Article 4 Direction in place on Jesse Terrace covering all external alterations which was put in place following the 2005 Conservation Area review.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading’s lead councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: ‘Reading’s Conservation Areas are places of distinctive and historic character which deserve protection.  By undertaking a pilot review in Castle Hill/Russell Street, working with the community and Historic England, we will be able to create a template for future reviews in other areas. 

‘The spread of Houses in Multiple Occupation can change the character of a place and have a negative impact on the environment and streetscape.  The use of Article 4 Directions will give the council powers to prevent unacceptable development and take enforcement action.  I’m particularly keen to see this in place in Jesse Terrace which is one of the town’s most attractive and unspoilt streets with interesting architecture important to Reading’s heritage. This latest proposal complements the existing Article 4 Direction covering all external alterations to all houses on Jesse Terrace. I know it will be supported by nearly all local residents.’ 

View the press release

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DCLG: Is CIL ‘Ensuring local communities development benefits’?

A new review has been launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to assess views on the CIL (community infrastructure levy), with a questionnaire which closes on 19 January 2016.

DCLG writes:
The review will come forward with proposed measures to ensure that developers are meeting their contribution to improved local infrastructure.

The government wants to ensure that local communities can raise funds to support the development of transport infrastructure, schools, health services and recreation facilities. That’s why the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was introduced in 2010 to help support the delivery of local infrastructure, we want to make sure it is working effectively.  The review is part of the government’s ongoing reforms to streamline the planning system and improve how local communities benefit from development and build the houses the country needs.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: ‘Our planning reforms have ended the top-down bureaucracy of the past that pitted neighbours against developers – which means more than a million homes have been granted planning permission since 2010.  We now want to go even further, so we can ensure communities can directly see the benefit of new development and can be confident that new homes come with the infrastructure to support them.  This independent review will examine how we can improve the community infrastructure levy to ensure it best benefits local communities whilst delivering the houses the country needs.’

Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:  ‘Where communities benefit from development they are also more likely to support it, and the Community Infrastructure Levy has played a vital role in contributing to local infrastructure and creating that local support.  As a government we want to build more homes, supported by people who live in the area and this review will look for new ways in which proposed development can benefit whole areas.  Since its introduction in 2010, CIL has provided a faster and fairer means of collecting developer contributions to local infrastructure. This has been done via tariff-style contributions on many large developments within a local planning authority’s area.  Proceeds are typically spent by councils on local infrastructure projects, such as roads and schools and are an alternative to traditional ‘Section 106’ planning obligations negotiated on an application-by-application basis.’

Almost 100 councils are now charging CIL and more than 200 councils are working towards introducing it.

The review will:

  • assess whether CIL is meeting its objectives of providing a faster, fairer, more certain and transparent means of funding infrastructure through developer contributions
  • look at the relationship between CIL and s.106 agreements
  • consider how reliefs and exemptions operate and whether the neighbourhood element of CIL is helping to increase community support for development 

Liz Peace will lead and chair an independent panel carrying out the review. It is drawn from a wide range of interest groups and will assess CIL as well as recommend changes to improve its operation in support of the government’s wider housing and growth objectives.  The call for evidence questionnaire is open and it has been published alongside the group’s terms of reference.

View the press release

Complete the questionnaire

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UAHS NI Buildings at Risk Research

Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) has reported on the newly issued research into Buildings at Risk (BAR) in Northern Ireland, which highlights key data on the impact of funding cuts and information on buildings at risk by Council area.

Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) writes:
A report released today by Detail Data looks into care for historic buildings in Northern Ireland. Highlighting issues affecting the protection of our historic buildings including: impact of cuts to listed building grant aid, buildings at risk, delisting and the responsibilities that now lie with the Department of Environment and our 11 new local councils in their powers of designation, planning and enforcement.

View the press release

View the report

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HHA highlight heritage opportunities from EU LEADER scheme

IHBC members who deal with historic buildings in rural areas will be interested in research undertaken by the Historic Houses Association (HHA) which highlights opportunities for heritage from the EU LEADER funding scheme. 

HHA writes:
While sources of government funding for rural tourism via the Department of Culture, Media and Sport may have dwindled, other departments may still offer significant funding opportunities.  The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs manages the LEADER programme, for example.

The LEADER approach is a well-established, mandatory element of the European Union’s Rural Development Programme.  LEADER is an acronym (originally French) which roughly translates as ‘Liaison Among those who work in Rural Economic Development’. It is a £138 million scheme, as part of the overall package of £456 million for the Rural Development Programme for England.  Funding is intended to help a range of businesses, sectors and communities in rural areas and is delivered through LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs) in rural areas to meet locally identified priorities.

A LAG is made up of local public, private and civil society representatives and has delegated powers to bring forward and fund projects in line with their Local Development Strategy (LDS).  An LDS is created by the local group for their area and describes what it aims to achieve based on locally identified priorities and actions.

There are 80 LEADER groups throughout the country, covering 85% of rural England and 43 of these were open for business, as of 18 November 2015.  These will increase support for jobs and growth in rural areas.  It is envisaged that 70% of projects will directly support the rural economy, with the remaining 30% all needing to make some sort of contribution to it.  There will be complimentary activity between Local Enterprise Partnerships and LEADER projects.

Ministers are particularly keen that LEADER should do more to support jobs and growth in rural areas and this is why it is expected that each LEADER group will deliver 70% of project funding directly in support of jobs and growth through the relevant policy priorities and every project a LAG approves will have to demonstrate that it has some direct benefit to the rural economy.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently in discussions with the EU’s LEADER Exchange Group (LEG) in order to take the programme to the point at which calls for applications can be made.  It is expected that this will take place in mid-2016, although this is subject to internal clearance and resourcing issues.  The LEADER page on the GOV.UK website includes various information, including contact details for LAGs.

LEADER funding information

Rural Development Programme for England website

HHA press release

Download Heritage Cases pdf

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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IHBC Reminder: IHBC stand & CPD at ‘parish church interiors’: Leicester, Dec 14-15

StMarysChldswickham300pxThe IHBC will be hosting a stand at the coming ‘Parish Church Interiors in Changing times’ conference, with IHBC CPD recognition also offered on this two-day event dedicated to the exploration and significance of the protection and management of 19th and 20th century Church of England parish church interiors, hosted by Historic England and the University of Leicester, on 14-15 December 2015 at Stamford Court. 

University of Leicester writes:
Historic England recognises the enormous importance of Church of England parish churches and their significance to the historic environment. Given the major and urgent challenges faced by buildings and congregations our Chairman, Sir Laurie Magnus, is to host a conference for advisors and decision-makers to allow an exploration of the significance, protection and management of 19th and 20th-century parish church interiors. 

Further details…

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