IHBC’s congratulations: Europa Nostra success for CCT, HSI, YAC, Stonehenge and – yet again – Middleport

The IHBC is delighted to offer its warmest congratulations to the winners of prestigious Europa Nostra awards, as the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), North of England Civic Trust’s ‘Heritage Skills Initiative’ (HSI), the Young Archaeologists Club (YAC), Stonehenge visitor centre and the Princes Regeneration Trust’s Middleport Pottery (following up on its success at the recent Placemaking Awards) all scooped some of the most prominent of these prestigious awards for the UK. 

Europa Nostra writes:
The European Commission and Europa Nostra have revealed today the winners of the 2015 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards, considered Europe’s most prestigious prize in the heritage field. The 28 award winners, selected from 263 applications submitted by organisations and individuals from 29 countries, are honoured for outstanding achievements in four categories: 1) conservation, 2) research and digitization, 3) dedicated service to heritage, and 4) education, training and awareness-raising.

The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will take place on 11 June at the Oslo City Hall and will be co-hosted by Fabian Stang, Mayor of Oslo, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra. At the ceremony, seven of the selected winners will be named as Grand Prix laureates, receiving €10,000 each, and one will receive the Public Choice Award, chosen in an online poll conducted by Europa Nostra.

‘Cultural heritage is one of Europe’s biggest assets. It brings countless cultural, economic, social and environmental benefits to all of us. I would like to congratulate the winners of the 2015 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, who are the perfect example of what dedicated and competent Europeans can do for heritage – but also for our European identity, contributing to a sense of belonging. We all need to keep working together to help communities and citizens take ownership of our heritage, make it part of our daily lives and preserve it for the generations to come,’ said Commissioner Navracsics.

‘This year’s winners are powerful examples of creativity and innovation at work for Europe’s cultural heritage. They also demonstrate that heritage matters to Europe and its citizens. We trust that, under the leadership of President Juncker and Commissioner Navracsics, the European Union’s strategy for an integrated approach to cultural heritage will be further developed and implemented,’ added Plácido Domingo. 

The Churches Conservation Trust writes:
The Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity saving historic churches at risk, has been recognised by the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, it has been announced today.

First established in 1969, The Churches Conservation Trust charity took over care of St Peter’s Church in Edlington, South Yorkshire in May 1971, and since then it has saved a collection of 347 listed church buildings, which attract almost two million visitors a year. Last year, the charity unveiled its most ambitious project yet, the £4.3m regeneration of All Souls Bolton, creating a 21st century community facility within a Grade II* listed Victorian church.

Considered Europe’s most prestigious prize in the heritage field, the 2015 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards recognises 28 winners across 29 countries, including five winners in the UK. The other UK winners are Stonehenge in Wiltshire, Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, The North of England Civic Trust’s Heritage Skills Initiative and York’s Young Archaeologists’ Club.

The award to the Churches Conservation Trust is in the category of Dedicated Service by Individuals or Organisations, and recognises contributions over a long period of time that demonstrate excellence in the protection, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage in Europe, far exceeding normal expectations in the given context.  At an awards ceremony in Oslo in June seven winners will be named as Grand Prix laureates, receiving €10,000 each, and one will receive a Public Choice Award, chosen by online poll.

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of The Churches Conservation Trust said: ‘The Churches Conservation Trust has been working for more than forty five years to save churches at risk across England. The past year has been one of the most important in our history, and I am delighted that Europa Nostra has our work.

‘Our expert team is setting the agenda in protecting our religious and architectural heritage, responding to funding challenges by not only finding new ways to support the conservation of our unique church buildings, but also via innovative new projects such as our flagship community building at All Souls Bolton. I look forward to the awards ceremony in June and hope we can continue to build on our success.’

A spokesperson for Europa Nostra said: ‘The Jury admired particularly the Churches Conservation Trust’s early recognition of the importance of safeguarding the religious and architectural significance of historic places of worship and their essential function as centres of community life…The Jury also appreciated the highly significant role the Trust has played in the foundation of the Future of Religious Heritage Network, where its proven model of sustainability will be pivotal for the preservation across Europe of religious heritage buildings and their interiors.’

View the full list of all winners

Churches Conservation Trust award


North of England Civic Trust Heritage Skills Initiative award 

Young Archaeologists Club (YAC)


Stonehenge Visitor Centre award


Middleport Pottery award

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Research resource update: Online historic building conservation etc.

Did you know that there are two websites in particular that allow you to find presentations and papers relating to matters covered by the IHBC’s Areas of Competence, and we mean ‘ worldwide’?

Slideshare is a website where anyone can post copies of presentations which they have given, on any subject.  A search for historic building conservation brings up a range of presentations, from heritage education in China and discussions relating to the NPPF and heritage to UNESCO policy analysis.

Academia.edu is a social networking site for students, researchers and academics, where people post their own papers, publications and presentations, but can also follow and link to others who are interested in the same topic areas.  You can choose to follow topic areas, for example ‘heritage conservation’, ‘cultural heritage’ ‘stone conservation’ or ‘archaeological method and theory’.

Why not explore or join these sites, and extend your digital heritage  network? You can also share articles and presentations which you think may be of interest to members through the IHBC LinkedIn group.

View presentations on historic building conservation 

Explore Slideshare

Examples of academia public posts include:

Explore academia.edu

Search academia.edu

IHBC’s LinkedIn group

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Funding boost for Welsh libraries and museums

New funding has been announced by the Welsh Government to support museums and archives, aiming to help libraries become community hubs and increase the accessibility of cultural resources for communities throughout Wales (also linked to the 2015 Year of Adventure theme).

The Welsh Government writes:
Museums, archives and libraries across Wales will benefit from almost £2.7million in the latest round of Welsh Government grant funding announced today by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates.

The main focus of the funding will be to support museums, archives and libraries to deliver the recommendations made in Baroness Andrew’s report on culture and poverty, in which she made a compelling case for joint-working across the sector to ensure culture is accessible to all.

The funding includes £1million to modernise seven public libraries in Fishguard Ebbw Vale, Blaenavon, Porthmadog, Deeside, Cardiff and Powys.

This is part of the Welsh Government’s Community Learning Library Capital Development Programme, which aims to establish libraries as community hubs, where customers can access a range of council services as well as the traditional library amenities.  The remaining £1.7million will be used to help widen access and encourage the use of Wales’ rich and diverse collections on offer at museums, archives and libraries across the country, including £235,000 for programmes to increase the number of users, particularly those living in Communities First areas.  £255,000 will be used to establish a national Digital Library Service, allowing customers to access a free all-Wales e-books and e-zines service, as well as free audio books and free reference sources.

The Deputy Minister said: ‘I am delighted to announce almost £2.7million for our museums, archives and libraries. Tackling poverty is at the heart of our community policy in Wales, which is why I am committed to ensuring this funding will be used to widen access to culture in some of our most deprived areas.  The funding will go towards a range of projects and will provide a valuable boost, enabling local museums, archives and libraries to develop their services and improve facilities, including widening digital services, making it easier for the public to access these important services.  I want to see Wales become the most creative nation in Europe and to achieve this it is vital that everyone is able to access the treasures available in our museums, archives and libraries, and be inspired.’

The funding will also support the further roll-out of Every Child a Library Member, deliver an enhanced Sharing Treasures Programme, where local museums work in partnership with larger museums, and matched funding for the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust to continue their work to preserve important cultural items.

Many of the programmes being funded will support the 2016 Year of Adventure initiative, launched by the Deputy Minister to promote Wales as the capital of adventure tourism, with activities, events and attractions across Wales taking part.

View the news release

IHBC newsblogs on funding

IHBC newsblogs on archives

IHBC newsblogs on museums

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Call for Entries- RIBA Research Awards

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) invites a call for entries for the research trust awards fund, with a deadline of 1 June.

The RIBA writes:
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is calling for applications from individuals interested in conducting new research into architecture. The RIBA Research Trust Awards has grants of up to £10,000 available to support original independent architecture research by practitioners, academics and recent graduates.

The judging committee particularly welcomes applications from new researchers and practice-led researchers, those in collaboration with academia and those not from a traditional research background.

RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: ‘The RIBA Research Trust Awards have supported many talented people in the past who have gone on to become skilled researchers both in the academic field and as practising architects. The originality of proposals is always highly valued along with clarity in the methodology and objectives of the research. I eagerly await the results of this year’s awards.’

The deadline to apply is 1 June 2015.

View more information about the awards

IHBC Awards etc pages 

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NI Assembly knowledge exchange on coastline planning

The Northern Ireland (NI) Assembly met for policy briefing sessions and knowledge exchange relating to planning for coastal areas with sessions covering.

  • Shoreline management planning in Northern Ireland
  • Marine planning for the blue economy: small island: big challenges
  • Landscape Planning for Sustainable Development

The sessions also covered research undertaken for the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) for Architecture and the Built Environment in Northern Ireland on Landscape Character Assessment.

Download the briefings and presentations

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And finally:… some reviews of political manifestos

If you are interested to know what your prospective parliamentary candidate has to say about issues affecting the built and natural environment you will be interested in the Planning Portal review of manifestos and the RTPI’s commendable general election resource. 

Planning Portal has been analysing the planning related pledges of the Conservative and Labour parties, and intends to review others in the coming weeks (results will be posted on the Planning Portal online blog).

The RTPI has provided a useful link to all the major party manifestos in their ‘general election resource’

View the Planning Portal analysis of Labour and Conservative Party manifestos

View the Planning Portal blog

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IHBC interim research update on CO salaries

The sector research operations of the IHBC, the UK’s lead body for built and historic environment conservation specialists, include monitoring Conservation Officer (CO) and related posts in England, and while recent data suggests in some parts of the country a slight easing of pressure on these services, it should be noted also that this may only indicate a short-term pause in public service cutbacks.

Bob Kindred, the IHBC’s Research Coordinator, said: ‘The Institute will shortly publish an annual update of the local authority conservation jobs market in England for 2014, and will continue to do so annually each January from now on.’

‘The IHBC has been monitoring these local authority salaries and job descriptions since 1998.  The database now documents nearly 1,600 posts advertised since then, and probably represents the single most substantial body of data on the evolution of England’s local conservation services over the last two decades.’

‘The monitoring process now offers extensive and invaluable information on trends, necessary qualifications, skills and service structures. Much of this helps validate the Institute’s periodic and parallel Local Authority Conservation Provision [LACP] research and analysis, much of which has been supported by what is now Historic England.’

‘Recent figures on the jobs market confirm that, although there was a dramatic fall in the number of advertised posts in 2010 and 2011, the market has recovered year on year since.  Encouragingly, the numbers of local authority vacancies in the first quarter of 2015 are higher at that point than for several years.’

‘Furthermore, while overall, advertised salaries have remained pretty static, the posts are predominantly full-time and permanent. This is in sharp contrast to last year where only half of the posts were full-time and/or permanent.’

‘With uncertainty over public finances after the election, the Institute continues to compile quarterly status reports on the local authority job market.’

A selection of the IHBC’s recent research work

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Join IHBC at the Natural Stone Show:  Free registration!

Registration for the Natural Stone, show to be held at ExCel in London from 28-30 April, is now open – where, supported by Historic England, the IHBC will host a stand at which members are welcome to volunteer – with this free event including a whole day devoted to conservation studies.

The Natural Stone Show writes:
Stone is an important part of the £3.6 billion conservation sector and has a thriving community of specialists committed to safeguarding the UK’s built heritage. This is represented at the show through a dedicated conservation area co-ordinated by Historic England and English Stone Forum, together with partner organisations including Historic Scotland, Building Limes Forum, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

Straddling stands D44 to D50 at the show, the Conservation Area provides free advice, enlightening case studies and a forum for the exchange of information, experience and opinions. Highlights include:

  • Demonstrations of the Strategic Stone Study website on the Historic England stand (D45)
  • How to select the correct stone for building repair through the English Stone Forum (D47)
  • Information about the use of lime in building from the Building Limes Forum (D46)
  • Free Historic Scotland (D48) hard copy publications and presentations of their work on memory sticks
  • Support and assistance to historic environment practitioners from The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (D50)
  • Impartial technical advice on all aspects associated with the care and repair of old buildings from The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (D44), including guidance on subjects ranging from controlling dampness in traditional walls that need to breathe, to improving energy efficiency and the use of lime mortars.
  • Numerous training initiatives including SPAB’s unique six-month training scheme for young craftspeople

Historic England and the English Stone Forum will also be overseeing day three of the Natural Stone & Building Conservation Conference on Thursday 30 April 2015.

If you would like to volunteer to join us on the stand please contact Sean O’Reilly: director@ihbc.org.uk or Kate Kendall: LETS@ihbc.org.uk

Register online

IHBC NewsBlogs on the Natural Stone Show

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Is local plan housing delivery too slow?

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

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

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

Download the report

IHBC newsblogs on localism

IHBC newsblogs on housing

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‘Civic Trust Cymru’ Launched

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

View the new website at http://civictrustcymru.org.uk

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

Follow Civic Trust Cymru on Twitter (@CivicTrustCymru)

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NI Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme launched

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

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

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

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

View the press release

Find out more about the grants

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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‘Highly sensitive’ Cotswold housing scheme dismissed

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

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

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

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

IHBC newsblogs on housing

IHBC newsblogs on AONB issues 

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RTPI Scotland: spatial planning + community planning links

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

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

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

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

View the news release

Read the full report

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