Basement bill has first reading

A bill to help local planning authorities restrict the size and depth of basement development has had its first reading in the House of Commons, with the proposed legislation being drawn up by Westminster North Labour MP Karen Buck.

UK Parliament – Bills

Planning Portal Blog

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Wiltshire industrial chimney for demolition

An industrial chimney – just short of the height of the spire at Salisbury Cathedral – that has loomed over part of Wiltshire’s countryside for decades is to be demolished.

The Westbury cement works were constructed in the early 1960s and mothballed in 2009, and to attract investors the non-operational parts of the site, including the 122 metre-high chimney, are to be cleared.

The structure will be brought down by a series of controlled explosions, site owners Tarmac said.

BBC news report

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Design Council: Design contributes £72bn to UK economy

Headline figures from a new report issued by the Design Council reveals that design contributes £72bn to the UK economy, equating to 7.7% of GVA.

The Design Council writes:
This year is Design Council’s 70th anniversary, and fittingly, yesterday the government’s Global Investment Conference shone a spotlight on design, creativity and innovation. Prominent international design and innovation figures along with business leaders, the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Mayor of London discussed how Britain’s world-renowned design capabilities boost productivity and deliver real value to the UK economy.

The British government was the first government in the world to recognise the power of design when it set up the Council of Industrial Design, now known as Design Council. The UK now has the largest design sector in Europe and the second largest in the world. Our design expertise is in demand across the globe, attracting inward investment and boosting exports.

Headline figures from Design Council’s new research The Design Economy were released yesterday, showing that design contributes £72bn to the UK economy (7.7% of GVA). Design as a discipline benefits and cuts across the whole UK economy, rather than a single industry. This new evidence is the result of a large research project, led by Design Council in partnership with various organisations. It builds on previous Design Council research, including Design Industry Insights 2010, but takes a wider definition of design by analysing ONS data to better understand the value of design across the UK economy. The design economy is adding jobs at more than three times the national average.

The Design Economy refers to value created by those employed in design roles in a wide variety of industries – from design intensive sectors such as web design or animation, to designers and design-engineers in automotive or aerospace companies.

The design economy is adding jobs at more than three times the national average. 1.6m people (5% of the UK workforce) were employed across the design economy in 2014. Design’s contribution has grown at a faster rate than the UK average. Much of this growth is being propelled by a flourishing digital design sector that has seen GVA grow by 39% from 2009-2013.

The full report with detailed methodology will be launched at the end of October.

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Planning and health links: Planner opinion

‘We should be looking at using the built environment to prevent people from getting ill’ states a report on the BRE Cities Convention in the current The Planner online.

View the full article on the Planner website

IHBC NewsBlogs on health

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Stonehenge celebrations: Centenary of purchase @£6,600

English Heritage is marking the 100 year anniversary of the purchase of Stonehenge for £6,600, with special commemorations to recognise this important step in its care and protection. 

English Heritage writes:
One hundred years ago today (21 September 2015), Stonehenge – the most famous prehistoric monument in the world – was sold at auction for £6,600 to a local Wiltshire man, Cecil Chubb. His purchase marked a turning point in the care and protection of the ancient monument and English Heritage, today’s guardian of Stonehenge, is marking the anniversary with re-enactments of the momentous auction throughout the day and with a special commemorative ticket for visitors. Kate Mavor, English Heritage’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Cecil Chubb’s impulse buy marked a turning point in the story of how Stonehenge was transformed from neglected ruin to national treasure. His winning bid set in train a programme of care and conservation for both the monument and the surrounding landscape, one that continues today and whose next major milestone will be the removal of the A303 from the Stonehenge landscape.’

Legend has it that barrister Cecil Chubb went along to the auction in Salisbury to buy a set of dining chairs (as instructed by his wife). Instead he walked out of the Palace Theatre £6,600 lighter and the owner of Lot 15: ‘Stonehenge with about 30 acres, 2 rods, 37 perches of adjoining downland.’ Chubb remarked to a local reporter that he had not intended to acquire the ancient stones ‘but while I was in the room, I thought a Salisbury man ought to buy it, and that is how it was done.’ Asked if he had any plans for the stones, Chubb replied that he had not yet had time to think about it but wanted to assure the public that every means of ‘protecting Stonehenge…would be taken.’

Prior to its purchase, Stonehenge was in a perilous condition. A popular attraction since the Middle Ages, by the 19th century people were regularly chipping the stones for souvenirs and scratching their names on the monument. In 1881, timber props were used to shore up stones considered to be in danger of collapse while in December 1900, an upright sarsen stone fell and the massive horizontal lintel it held in place snapped in two. There was an outcry following which a police constable was appointed, the first organised excavation of Stonehenge got underway, the monument was enclosed by a fence, and an admission charge was introduced towards the upkeep and care of the monument. But the stones remained in a worrying condition with many of them held up with wooden props.

Stonehenge had been owned by the Antrobus family since the early 1800s but when the heir to the Antrobus baronetcy was killed in the opening months of the First World War, the estate was divided into lots and put up for sale via auction. And so at 2pm on 21 September 1915, the Palace Theatre in Salisbury was ‘filled with an interested audience, intending purchasers and spectators’ and in the hands of Messrs Knight, Franck and Rutley, Stonehenge went under the hammer.

‘Surely someone will bid me £5,000 to start with,’ urged the auctioneer, Sir Howard Frank. A hand in the stalls was held up, and in calm, business-like tones it was announced that the first £5,000 bid had been received. Bidding increased by £100 increments from £6,000 until the figure of £6,500 was reached by local man Isaac Crook, whose grandson Richard still farms the fields around Stonehenge today. One more bid was received, ‘the hammer remained aloft for an instant; there was no further offer and it descended with a sharp rap.’ Stonehenge was sold for £6,600 to Cecil Chubb.

Three years later in 1918, Cecil Chubb donated it to the nation, writing, ‘I became the owner of it with a deep sense of pleasure… [but] it has been pressed upon me that the nation would like to have it for its own…’. A special handing-over ceremony took place in October 1918 and Chubb received a knighthood, gaining the local nickname ‘Viscount Stonehenge’.

Thanks to Chubb’s impulse buy and his generosity, Stonehenge had been saved future generations. English Heritage’s predecessors, The Office of Works, began to care for the monument, restoring many of the fallen stones and undertaking a major survey and programme of excavation. Later, a national appeal was made to restore and preserve the surroundings of Stonehenge to its former natural state. The then Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, lent support, George V contributed 20 guineas and the Druids provided 10 guineas. In 1929, 1,500 acres of the surrounding downland were purchased by the Government and vested in the National Trust. In 1986, Stonehenge, the Avebury henge and stone circles, and over 700 other prehistoric monuments in the surrounding area were inscribed in the World Heritage Site List.

The restoration of the Stonehenge landscape continues. In December 2013, English Heritage opened a new visitor centre, 1.5 miles out of sight of the stones, and started to restore the landscape immediately to the north of the stones, removing the unsightly, old visitor centre, grassing over the now closed A344, and re-uniting the ancient processional approach – the Avenue – with the stones. In December 2014, the Government announced that it will be investing in a new tunnel of a least 2.9km to remove the A303 from the Stonehenge landscape, an announcement that English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust have all welcomed.

EH news

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‘Sign of the times’: HS2 bidding process launched in China

The bidding process for stage 1 of the HS2 rail project was launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in Chengdu, China this week. 

HM Treasury writes:
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne yesterday (24 September) announced a major new milestone for the government’s High Speed 2 rail project, kick-starting the bidding process for phase one of the mega construction project.

At least seven new contracts will be opened up to companies, with a total combined value of £11.8 billion.  The Chancellor made the announcement at an event in Chengdu, China, aimed at wooing some of China’s biggest investors to be part of the project as well as a raft of other major UK infrastructure projects.  Mr Osborne also announced a new ‘HS2 partnering day’ between British and Chinese firms to explore joining up on bids for contracts, as well as launching the Northern Powerhouse pitch book.  The event is part of a wider five day tour of China by the Chancellor, aimed at deepening cooperation between the two countries and making China the UK’s second largest export market.

HS2 forms a major part of the government’s plan to rebalance the UK economy and build a Northern Powerhouse by providing high speed rail services from London to the Midlands, and the North.  Construction of phase 1 is due to start in 2017, and when opened will slash the travel time between London and Birmingham from 1 hour 21 minutes, to 49 minutes.  Work is also underway on developing plans to transform East-West rail links.

Speaking while travelling on part of China’s vast network of high speed railways the Chancellor said yesterday:  This government is committed to rebalancing our economy and building a Northern Powerhouse, and improving transport links and launching HS2 is key to supporting long-term economic growth across the North and Midlands.  That’s why I’m here in China today opening the bidding process for construction contracts worth £11.8 billion, which will propel HS2 forward.  We are truly entering a golden era of cooperation between our two countries, and it’s crucial that businesses and communities from across the UK feel the full benefit of forging closer economic links with China.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:  HS2 provides an excellent opportunity for businesses across the UK with 25,000 jobs created during construction and 3,000 when up and running.   The start of the procurement process for these significant contracts is a major step towards construction on HS2 getting underway in two years’ time and a massive opportunity to help rebalance our economy long before the trains start running in 2026.

HS2 Ltd chief executive Simon Kirby said:  The start of the civil engineering bidding process is a major milestone for HS2 as we continue to move towards the start of construction in 2017.  Over the next decade, the winners of these contracts will go on to build 230km of bridges, tunnels and earthworks and create thousands of jobs across the construction industry.  Together we will transform intercity rail travel in the UK, build specialist skills and expertise across the country, create at least 2,000 new apprenticeships and build a legacy to inspire the next generation of young engineers.

The government is currently organising an ‘HS2 partnering day’ to give Chinese companies an opportunity to meet UK firms and establish potential partnerships to join up on bids.  The Chancellor is also inviting Chinese participation in the HS2 skills college, which is due to open in 2017.  A skills-swap programme would allow the UK to benefit from China’s expertise as a world leader on High Speed? Rail, and help Chinese investors better understand the UK market.

The Chancellor is also encouraging Chinese companies to take part in an HS2 ‘regeneration tour’, which would involve visiting areas of huge commercial opportunity in London, the Midlands and the North.  Investors would have the chance to meet with relevant local authorities and visit station sites.  The launch of the bidding process takes the form of a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for the ‘Main Civils Works’, ie the surface route and tunnels for phase 1. At this stage suppliers will be allowed to express an interest into all 7 packages.  Following the PQQ, successful applicants will be invited to bid for a maximum of 4 packages at tender stage, with a maximum award of up to 2 contracts per tenderer.  7 contracts are split over 3 geographical areas (North, Central, South), along the phase 1 route from London to Birmingham. There will also be the option for additional contracts covering the route North of Birmingham, subject to ministerial decisions on this later in the year.  The civil contracts are the first tranche of the Main Works Packages and cover surface routes and tunnels. ‘Tranche 2’ comprises stations, and ‘Tranche 3’ comprises railway systems. These will be launched in 2016 and 2017.  Construction works will commence following Royal Assent of the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill which is currently being considered by Parliament.

View the press release

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Meccano bridge spans the Clarendon dock, Belfast

The worlds largest Meccano structure has been created at the historic Clarendon dock by students and staff from Queen’s University Belfast, with local schoolchildren as part of a science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) educational project. 

Queen’s University Belfast writes:
Officials from Guinness World Records have confirmed that Queen’s Big Bridge Build – a bridge spanning almost 100 feet across Belfast’s Clarendon dock – is the world’s largest Meccano structure.

The Big Bridge Build, a year-long project, is the brainchild of the University’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering.  Academics and students created the bridge, with the help of local school children, as part of the university’s outreach programme to encourage more children to think about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Hundreds of people visited Belfast’s Clarendon Dock over the weekend to marvel at the stunning construction as they waited to hear the official announcement of the World Record bid. The project was made possible with the help of Spin Master Corp, the proud owner and producer of Meccano, as well as McLaughlin & Harvey and Aecom who gave valuable advice to the students as well as assisting with the construction and installation of the bridge across the Clarendon Dock.

The students celebrated their achievement by walking across the bridge for the first time, which was officially declared open by Meccano’s Meccanoid Robot, much to the delight of attending youngsters.

Speaking about the achievement Danny McPolin, Senior Structures Lecturer at Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, said: ‘This event has been a fantastic way to celebrate the student and staff’s incredible work over the past year, but also a chance to show local children more about the exciting courses we offer here at the Queen’s University.  With a growing skill shortage in Civil engineering, we hope that our work will encourage more children to consider the study of civil engineering and other STEM subjects at University level.’

Members of the public who attend the event had the opportunity to speak to students and academics, as well as the event sponsors, who were on hand to discuss the bridge build and civil engineering in general.  Youngsters were also able to create their own Meccano structures in a dedicated Gazebo sponsored by Smyths Toys Superstores.

Ben Varadi, Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Spin Master Corp., said: ‘We are truly in awe of this remarkable achievement.  Spin Master is incredibly proud that this timeless and iconic toy, invented over a 100 years ago, continues to inspire the world’s future architects and engineers.’

Paul McCormick, Managing Director, Highways & Bridges, EMEA & India at AECOM, commented: ‘We are proud to have been involved with the Big Bridge Build project and it’s wonderful to seeyoung people getting excited by the fantastic opportunities civil engineering can offer. We hope this event inspires more young people to take up STEM subjects at university level and pursue careers in engineering.’

John McCarey, Chief Engineer at Civil Engineering contractor McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd added: ‘It has been a pleasure to work with Queen’s to support these engineers of the future with this exciting project. We have been involved from the start of their world record attempt, providing them with a contractor’s insight and bringing our technical expertise to the very particular challenges of this brilliant third year design project. To gain the World Record is the Icing on the Cake!’ 

The Guinness World Record ‘Big Bridge Build’ in numbers:

  • Length of Bridge – 28.5 (96ft)
  • Longest Span of Bridge – 14m
  • Height of Bridge – 6m (26ft)
  • Weight – 600kg
  • Pieces of Meccano – 11,000
  • Nuts, bolts, washers – 60,000
  • Total length of Meccano pieces (laid end to end) – 3,835m 

View a video of the build

Queen’s University Belfast news

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IHBC says: Upskill for the future, so robots don’t take your job!

ScaffoldWorkThe BBC has published a tool (in conjunction with the University of Oxford) that outlines how computers using artificial intelligence technology and robots are contributing to the automation of jobs, so you may be interested to know how heritage-related careers have fared – and relieved that conservation skills can help secure your future, as conservation professionals, environmental professionals, civil engineers and architects fare well with only a 2% chance, with Town Planners at 13%, though chartered surveyors face a 63% likelihood, in stark contrast to quantity surveyors who only face a 3% chance!

The research reveals general employment trends in each career, and highlights key skills (such as those which affect the likelihood of automation- those who negotiate and use creative decision making are less likely to be automated). We looked at some of the roles which IHBC members have and most are unlikely to be automated in the near future.

The following statistics are sourced from the BBC website tool:

  • Conservation professionals- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (2%)
  • Town planning officers- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (13%)
  • Architects- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (2%)
  • Chartered surveyors – Likelihood of automation? It’s fairly likely (63%)
  • Civil engineers- Likelihood of automation?- It’s quite unlikely (2%)
  • Archivists and curators- Likelihood of automation? It’s not very likely (38%)
  • Building and civil engineering technicians- Likelihood of automation? It’s too close to call (57%)
  • Construction and building trades (other) Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (7%)
  • Construction project managers and related professionals- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (7%)
  • Environment professionals- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (2%)
  • Further education teaching professionals- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (13%)
  • Higher education teaching professionals- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (3%)
  • Property, housing and estate managers- Likelihood of automation? It’s not very likely (25%)
  • Quantity surveyors- Likelihood of automation? It’s quite unlikely (3%)

Explore the tool and data

View the IHBC member profile

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IHBC’s Toolbox: New Guidance Note on ‘Use of direct action in heritage enforcement cases in England’

The IHBC has launched its new Guidance Note, ‘Use of direct action in heritage enforcement cases in England’, on our developing ‘Toolbox’ for practitioners. This Guidance Note is intended to explain the procedures and practical considerations in handling enforcement cases and suggest best practice.

The guidance note is written by IHBC’s Research Consultant Bob Kindred.

This is one of a series of occasional Guidance Notes published by The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). IHBC Guidance Notes offer current and recent guidance into topics that we consider crucial to the promotion of good built and historic environment conservation policy and practice. The Notes necessarily reflect knowledge and practice at the time they were developed, while the IHBC always welcomes new case examples, feedback and comment to for future revisions and updates.

Download the Guidance Note
For links to the Research Notes see the IHBC Toolbox Toolbox_icon

Background on the IHBC Toolbox

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England’s new Local Plan panel

Planning minister Brandon Lewis this week launched a new group of experts to help streamline the local plan-making process.

The eight-strong panel will consider how the current regime can be simplified. More than a third of local planning authorities have yet to adopt an up to date local plan.

The chair of this new group is John Rhodes of planning consultants Quod. Other members are:

  • Adrian Penfold from developers British Land
  • Richard Harwood QC from legal firm 39 Essex Chambers
  • Councillor Toby Elliott from Swindon Borough Council
  • Keith Holland a retired senior planning inspector
  • Liz Peace formerly of the British Property Federation
  • John Howell MP
  • Derek Stebbing plans manager for Chelmsford City Council.

Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘Our planning reforms have caught the imagination of communities across the country, allowing them to bring forward developments that are a real benefit to local people.’

‘However, while many have seized this opportunity, it’s fair to say the process of getting Local Plans in place can sometimes be lengthy and complicated. That’s why we’ve brought together this panel of experts to help look at ways to streamline the process. Their first-class advice will help councils push on and deliver the homes and infrastructure that their communities need.’

Local Plans give communities more say in how their area will develop from the amount of housing they need to the infrastructure that has to be put in place to help them thrive.

The government launched a radical reform of the planning system in 2012, reducing the amount of policy from more than 1,000 pages to just 52 and putting Local Plans at the heart of the system.

In total, 276 local authorities have published Local Plans to date with 216 adopted so far. However, that means more than a third of local planning authorities have yet to adopt plans.

Today’s new group includes representatives from a range of backgrounds, including local authorities, developers, the legal industry and the Planning Inspectorate.

Because plan-making involves a wide range of considerations, the remit of the group will be broad and cover any aspect of the Local Plan-making process that they feel is relevant, calling on experts in the field as they see fit. They are due to report back in the New Year.

UK Gov news

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New homes in England’s Greenbelt halves in 20 years

New research from Countrywide estate agency indicates that the homes built at green belt locations in England over the last 20 years has halved.

Countrywide writes:
Countrywide’s research shows 96,000 new homes have been built on the Greenbelt since 1995 making up 3.5% of the 2.7 million homes built in England between 1995 and 2014.

The number of new homes built on Greenbelt peaked in 2001 at 6,700, and both the number and proportion have fallen since with less than half the homes built on Greenbelt in 2014.

Demand for new homes and a shift in development southwards saw 48% of all Greenbelt development occurring around London in 2014.

Four Greenbelts: Blackpool, Gloucester, Burton and Morecambe, have seen no new housebuilding at all since 2011

Countrywide article

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TCPA: Garden City Right to buy exemption – for mixed use & affordability

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has called for homes in existing and proposed Garden Cities to be exempt from the proposed extension of the Right to Buy in a bid to ensure that Garden Cities remain socially mixed and affordable places to live.

TCPA article

Planning Portal Blog

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New online tender system for Northern Ireland

Members who deal with procurement or submit responses to heritage tenders will be interested to learn that Northern Ireland has now adopted a new approach through the launch of a new eTendersNI system.

The Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel writes:
The new eTendersNI system will make it easier for companies to submit online tenders for government contracts. The portal has been developed by the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Central Procurement Directorate, (CPD), which carries out procurements on behalf of central government departments, agencies and arms-length bodies. CPD is one of the first procurement organisations to use the new system.

The Minister said: ‘eTendersNI is another important step along government’s path to continuous improvement. It will be the principal source of information for public sector tender opportunities in Northern Ireland, with more organisations using it to advertise their tenders than the previous portal, eSourcing NI. Its functionality will improve efficiency for suppliers, by making it easier and faster to bid for government contracts. Each year Northern Ireland public sector contracts account for more than £2.5billion of expenditure. Of those contracts awarded in year 75% go to local businesses, the majority of which are SMEs. I want to see that success continue and CPD has been working closely with the private sector and the CEF, to improve procurement processes and the visibility of construction procurement projects in the pipeline to help businesses compete for more government contracts.’

Arlene Foster added: ‘Through the Executive’s commitment to public sector reform my department is looking for better ways for suppliers to engage, simpler ways of doing business and encouraging the market to offer its best solutions to the public sector.’

IHBC NewsBlogs on tenders and procurement

For tender listings to your heritage business join IHBC’s HESPR service

View the press release

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ICOMOS: 50th anniversary celebrations

ICOMOS and ICOMOS-UK are celebrating their 50th anniversary through a conference on mainstreaming cultural heritage, to be held in London on 22 October.

ICOMOS UK writes:
Cultural heritage is an essential component of a successful society. It plays a vital role as a driver of development and of cultural tourism – a major global industry – and most importantly as a key component of our cultural identity and sense of wellbeing. From the survival of prehistoric cave art to the rehabilitation of disused industrial landscapes, it embodies a spirit of place and provides inspiration for the communities and people to which it belongs. Its value lies in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.

Cultural heritage has a profound impact on our lives, but it is vulnerable, as we have seen so vividly in recent years and months. In its 50th anniversary year, ICOMOS-UK is calling for a new approach that celebrates cultural heritage and seeks to embed it in our education and training, so that its importance is maintained by future generations, embracing sustainable development and resilience in society.

This landmark conference not only celebrates innovative global approaches but marks the launch of a Cultural Heritage Manifesto for the next five years. This will include goals and ways for how those goals might shape policies, plans and initiatives to ensure that they are ‘cultural heritage proofed’ and that cultural heritage is put at the centre of decision-making about our society, communities and the environment.

ICOMOS UK webpages

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38 landmark devolution proposals from across the UK

The government has revealed that 38 proposals for devolution have now been submitted from regions across the UK.

Government writes:
The most radical shake up of local governance in a generation has taken a giant step forward this week with 38 landmark devolution proposals from cities, towns and counties across the United Kingdom being made to government.

Each area has submitted ambitious proposals to take control of how public money is spent in their local area, the Prime Minister announced recently (11 September 2015).

Earlier this summer the Chancellor asked areas to put forward proposals to follow in the footsteps of Greater Manchester’s ground-breaking devolution deal with government last year.

The volume of bids clearly demonstrates the significant appetite to be part of a devolution revolution across the country, with local leaders signing up in droves to the Chancellor’s vision of an accountable elected mayor leading strong regional areas who look after their own affairs.

Bids have come in from the length and breadth of the country including Liverpool City Region, the North East, Gloucestershire and the West Midlands.

The 38 bids received ahead of the deadline recently include the application for powers in a wide range of spending areas including education, transport, healthcare, housing and business support.

Speaking recently Prime Minister David Cameron said: Spreading opportunity, increasing social mobility, helping people get on – these aims run through this government like letters through a stick of rock. The best businesses would never shy away from allowing their customers to shape the way they improve their services. If we are bold enough, government can go one better by actually putting many of those services in the hands of local people. It is also a proven reality that money spent closer to people is often money spent wiser – so we can really deliver more for less.

Chancellor George Osborne said: Earlier this summer I asked local leaders to come forward with their ideas to build on our radical devolution plans. We have had hugely ambitious proposals from all over the country showing that local areas are as enthusiastic as I am about shifting power out of Whitehall. What we are delivering in the Northern Powerhouse through our ground-breaking deal with Greater Manchester illustrates what can be achieved by working together – the challenge is now to make this happen in other great cities.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: This ‘one nation government’ is determined to ensure power is devolved from Whitehall to town halls, to put an end to the old north-south divide and rebalance our economy. The sheer volume of bids we’ve received, from cities and counties, demonstrates how local leaders are embracing this opportunity to have a direct hand in shaping the future of their area, whether in skills, transport, housing or healthcare. I look forward to us working with each of these areas in the coming weeks and months to turn their proposals into reality.

Successful future deals from the proposals announced recently will be supported through the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill currently passing through Parliament. The proposals will now be considered as part of the Spending Review process.

The Bill puts in place the legal framework across the country that will make it simpler for devolving more powers to more places and sets out far reaching powers to be devolved to Greater Manchester and for creating a city-wide elected metro mayor.

The full list of areas submitting proposals for devolution deals is below. It includes areas who have already agreed deals seeking further devolved powers. Besides the proposals listed below, government also received a number of other representations and letters of support related to devolution, all of which will be considered carefully.

View the press release and full list of submitted proposals

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Bristol Old Vic- HLF funding for an internationally-significant heritage destination.

Britain’s oldest theatre has been awarded funding to help celebrate its 250 year anniversary through a £220,500 development grant.

Bristol Old Vic has announced the next step for a landmark project to mark its 250th anniversary and transform it into an internationally-significant heritage destination. This visionary project will bring to life 250 years of theatrical heritage, represented by Bristol Old Vic’s historic architecture and archives.   The superb 18th century building will be protected and the records of a rich history of civic pride and dramatic art will be restored and preserved before being brought to new audiences. Already recognised as a centre of artistic excellence, the UK’s oldest theatre will also become an important heritage attraction.

Key elements of the project include the:

  • refurbishment of Coopers’ Hall
  • conservation of the original 18th-century theatre façade
  • protection of paper records
  • creation of new public spaces and programmes, both on site and online

A HLF grant of £220,500 means that a nine-month period of development work can now get going. Once this initial stage is complete, a further application will be submitted to HLF for a grant of £2.26million.

Emma Stenning, chief executive at Bristol Old Vic, said: ‘We’re thrilled that HLF has given us this support as it will enable us to push forward with our exciting plans to transform the theatre into an internationally-significant hub of cultural and historical interest.’

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, added: ‘We’re hugely supportive of these plans to protect an 18th-century Bristol landmark and to open it up for many more people’s enjoyment. We never forget that we can only do our work thanks to National Lottery players and are particularly keen to see the wider area around the King Street site benefit from our investment too.’

View the press release

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