New website- Welsh Traditional Buildings Forum

A new website has been launched for the Welsh Traditional Buildings Forum which assists in promoting appropriate repair and conservation of pre-1919 buildings in Wales, with a directory of courses and resources relevant to property owners, architects and developers. 

View the website

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Blue Plaques? Not just one, but two… for Beckett and Blackett

Two blue plaques have been revealed at the former home of Samuel Beckett and Scientist Patrick Blackett, one of only a few buildings in London to have more than one plaque.

English Heritage writes:
A house in Chelsea which was home to both the dramatist Samuel Beckett and the eminent physicist Patrick Blackett will today (Wednesday 20 April 2016) become one of the few buildings in London to bear two official Blue Plaques, English Heritage has announced.

Samuel Beckett, the author of Waiting for Godot, lived at 48 Paultons Square for seven months in 1934 while undergoing psychoanalysis (paid for by his mother following the death of his father) and seeking literary work. During this time he was writing his first novel, Murphy, and it was while living on Paultons Square that his first full-length work, the short story collection More Pricks than Kicks, was published.

Scientist Patrick Blackett moved into 48 Paultons Square in 1953 and lived there until 1969. During the Second World War, he was one of the heroes of the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ thanks to his revolutionary work in U-Boat detection. He also undertook ground-breaking research into cosmic rays and both Blackett and a colleague discovered the positive electron almost simultaneously with and independently from C.C. Anderson in the United States. The inscription on the English Heritage Blue Plaque describes him as a Physicist and Scientific Advisor.

As well as living in the same house – albeit years apart – Beckett and Blackett were also Nobel Prize winners, for Literature and Physics respectively. Both Downton Abbey actress Penelope Wilton, who has starred in adaptations of Beckett’s Eh Joe and Rockaby, and Astronomer Royal Arnold Wolfendale will together unveil the English Heritage Blue Plaques.

Ronald Hutton, Chairman of the English Heritage Blue Plaques Panel, said: ‘It is a very special occasion to unveil two new Blue Plaques at once, let alone for two Nobel Prize winners. Beckett and Blackett are giants in their fields and these two plaques mark their achievements and celebrate their connection to London. This unveiling is a fitting opening to the 150th anniversary year of the Blue Plaques scheme.’

Though Samuel Beckett is a writer mostly associated with Dublin and Paris, he lived in London on-and-off for three years in the mid-1930s.  His time in the capital was not a happy one: his application for literary work produced nothing but ‘glib Cockney regrets’, he was in mental turmoil following the death of his father in June 1933 and underwent psychiatric treatment, and he was suffering from a long list of ailments including boils, pelvic pains, tachycardia, panic attacks and insomnia.

Yet despite this, it was a significant and formative period in his life. It encompassed the writing of most of his first novel, Murphy, the book that Beckett considered to be the foundation of his subsequent works with its opening line, ‘The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.’, and in which the protagonist dies in London, having found contentment there. And it was during his time in the capital that More Pricks than Kicks, his collection of interlinked short stories about an indolent Irish intellectual, Belacqua Shuah, was published by Chatto and Windus – or, as Beckett referred to them in correspondence, ‘Shatupon and Windup’.

48 Paultons Square is a Grade II three-storey terraced house dating from 1840, on one of the best surviving squares in West London. The house becomes the nineteenth to claim the ‘double blue’ distinction, joining among others, 20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead (Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud, his daughter and a pioneer of child psychoanalysis) and 29 Fitzroy Square in Fitzrovia (George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf). Famously, Jimi Hendrix and George Frideric Handel have plaques on neighbouring houses in Brook Street, Mayfair.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the English Heritage Blue Plaques scheme.  Comedian Tommy Cooper, food writer Elizabeth David and music icon Freddie Mercury are among those who will be commemorated with Blue Plaques while on the weekend of 7-8 May 2016, English Heritage will celebrate the scheme’s anniversary with a Blue Plaques weekend of special tours. English Heritage will also launch a new Blue Plaques app which will help people to discover which of the more than 900 blue plaques is closest to them and to plot their own blue plaques tour across the capital.

View the press release

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Call for Entries: BDA Brick Awards – 10 June

The 40th anniversary of the Brick Development Association Brick Awards brings opportunities for recognition of heritage projects, with 15 categories (including technical and craft categories) and a closing date of 10 June. 

The Brick Development Association (BDA) writes:
The annual Brick Awards recognise excellence in brick and brickwork. Now in its 40th year the Brick Awards is one of the most widely respected design awards in the UK.

Each year hundreds of entries are submitted, 15 prestigious trophies and more than 130 certificates are issued to the successful projects, with over 100 certificates given to finalist entries. The architect/designer, brick manufacturer and specialist brickwork contractor are all acknowledged on each project.

Anyone can enter the awards – architects/designers, owners, developers, house-builders, specialist brickwork contractors and brick manufacturers. The Awards are made in a number of categories covering different aspects of design and construction. Projects featuring clay bricks and clay pavers manufactured by BDA member companies are eligible for all categories except Worldwide Brick Award which is only open to non-BDA manufacturer’s bricks.

A project may only be entered once, at any time in the three years from its date of completion. Entries for all categories (except for the Worldwide Projects) must be sited in the UK (including Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the British Isles).

View the call for entries and more information on the criteria

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Reminder: ‘Knowing helps Doing’ – help your colleagues by recommending IHBC’s free ‘taster’ email news service, our NewsBlogs!

NewsBlog_HomepageAnyone in or beyond the heritage, development and cultural communities can now try out a free 6-month ‘taster’ of one of the IHBC’s most valuable membership benefits by simply signing up for our email news update service, the NewsBlogs. 

Sign up here 

For background see

IHBC’s great new ‘taster’ for everyone: accessible sector news by email, for free!

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IHBC update on England’s Marine Planning: Workshops and next stages

Members in the north east, north west, south east and south west may be interested to learn about new developments in marine planning within these areas; a series of information sessions are planned to explore the sustainable growth of marine areas, with opportunities to find out more about the forthcoming Statement of Public Participation and the Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report. 

The Marine Management Organisation writes:
The next phase of marine planning will begin on Monday 11 April 2016 with the launch of public consultation and a series of local events.

The marine plans, which will cover the north east, north west, south east and south west, will guide what happens in the marine area, making sure activities take place at the right time and in the right place, enabling sustainable growth. 

Building on the work and knowledge of the East Marine Plans and the draft South Marine Plan, this next phase will complete the network of marine plans, ensuring that all marine areas are covered by a plan by 2021. As part of this, we are holding a number of events in the north east, south east, south west and north west of England.

The events, which are open to anyone with an interest in the marine area, are an introduction to marine planning, providing the opportunity to meet your local marine planner and to find out more about what marine planning will mean for your area and how you can get involved. There will also be demonstrations of the online Marine Information System and evidence base, where you can see some of the information and evidence we already have gathered for the areas.

We are also launching public consultation on the Statement of Public Participation and the Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report for this next phase of marine plans.

The Statement of Public Participation includes details on how, when and to whom we will engage with through the marine planning process. The Sustainability Appraisal assesses the social, economic and environmental impacts of a marine plan. Both consultations will be published on 11 April on the marine planning pages of

More information on marine plans

Find out more details for the events view the news release

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DCLG: Coastal communities could return £8 on every £1 invested

The report on the achievements and progress of the Coastal Communities Fund in its first 3 years 2012 to 2015 as the report notes that its ‘forecast job outputs have the potential to generate around £320m of annual GVA output which means that every £1 invested through the CCF generates a return of £8.’

DCLG writes:
This report highlights the achievements and progress of the Coastal Communities Fund in the first 3 funding rounds between 2012 and 2015.

The Fund was set up by the government to support the economic development of coastal communities by promoting sustainable economic growth and jobs.

During its first 3 years the Fund has invested over £118 million in over 200 projects across the UK from Shetland to Cornwall, and Anglesey to Kent.

The government’s decision to extend the Fund by a further £90 million over 4 years to 2020 to 2021, will help secure the long-term future of our seaside towns so communities can drive forward their vision, unleash business opportunities and prosperity.

The next round of bidding will commence in the summer of 2016.

read more….

See the announcement

See the report

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Kensington: ‘UFO-style’ loft extension blasted

Residents have blasted ‘appalling’ plans for a UFO-style loft extension to a building overlooking a conservation area in one of London’s upmarket neighourhoods, writes the Daily Mail, as Cromwell Mansions, built 1890s as a six-story block of flats in Kensington faces proposals to add an unusual spaceship-style structure to roof while residents objecting to ‘ill considered’ plans and call it an ‘alien addition’.

Daily Mail article

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Opinion: making apprenticeships work for cities

The Centre for Cities has released a report which draws together case studies which show how apprenticeships can work well in cities, discussing the challenges which the current system brings and examples of best practice, including within construction. 

The Centre for Cities writes:
The report shows that a rapidly changing policy landscape over the last two decades has increased risk and confusion for employers, training providers, schools and young people. In a series of case studies, it explores some of the ways in which local partners have been proactive in addressing those challenges, and draws out the lessons for other places in creating apprenticeships. 

View the news release

Download the report

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HES: Urban Detectives Sought! Scotland’s Urban Past

Historic Environment Scotland have released a call for action to take part in a five year community engagement project ‘Scotland’s Urban Past’.

Historic Environment Scotland
Town and city dwellers are being asked to get hands on with history by taking part in a nationwide initiative to record the littlest local landmarks in Scotland’s urban areas.

The initiative comes from Scotland’s Urban Past (SUP), a five-year community-engagement project from Historic Environment Scotland that puts local communities in charge of recording the history on their doorsteps, and is part of the celebrations for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Volunteers can become ‘Urban Detectives’ by submitting photographs and location coordinates of tiny buildings in Scotland’s towns and cities to the SUP website. Users are also invited to take measurements and sketches, all of which will become part of Canmore, Scotland’s online record of architecture, archaeology and industry.

This national record is a digital time machine, holding images and information about more than 320,000 sites in Scotland. Now, SUP is asking local Urban Detectives to contribute their own images and information about Scottish places – starting with the smallest buildings in the nation’s towns and cities.

Chiara Ronchini, SUP Project Manager, said: ‘People throughout Scotland will be bringing our national collection to life by telling the big stories of our tiniest buildings.  Our dedicated digital team have made it easy to contribute information to Canmore on mobiles and tablets, as well as PCs and Macs, so you can even add a snapshot of local landmarks such as police boxes, beach hurts and signal boxes on your way to work.’

‘Every contribution will be accessible to the wider public, helping to build a detailed and accessible history of our urban heritage by the people who live within it. It’s a great opportunity to help document your town or city, past and present, for generations to come.’

SUP provides free training, support and resources to people of all ages to help them discover and share the fascinating stories of Scotland’s towns and cities.

SUP is supported by the National Lottery with a grant of £1.65m from the Heritage Lottery Fund

Free workshops for Urban Detectives will be taking place throughout Scotland. For more information, visit

View the press release

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Londoners Want A Say On Their Skyline

Sir Laurie Magnus (Chairman of Historic England, Dr Loyd Grossman CBE (Chairman of the Heritage Alliance) and Sir Terry Farrell, CBE (Architect) have issued an open letter calling for a clear strategy on tall buildings for London, and Historic England have revealed information on a poll which shows that almost half of Londoners want a say on skyline buildings.

Historic England writes:

  • Heritage champions call for clear strategy on tall buildings from next mayor
  • New poll reveals that almost half of Londoners (48%) think the 430 proposed new towers for London would have a negative impact on the city’s skyline, while 34% think they would have a positive impact
  • More than half of Londoners (58%) don’t know how to have a say over planning proposals in their local area
  • 60% say they would like a say over tall buildings if they are proposed for a historically significant  area in London
  • Historic England calls for broader consultation on the skyline

A new YouGov poll has revealed that nearly half of Londoners (48%) think the 430 tall buildings planned for the capital will have a negative impact on the skyline, compared to the 34% who think they will have a positive impact, but more than half do not know how to make their voice heard.

The figures were released as Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman of Historic England and renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell wrote an open letter calling for a clearer strategy on tall buildings for London.

When asked which planning applications they would like to be consulted on, 60% believed people across the city should have a say if a tall building is proposed in a historically important place. But currently it is usually only those in immediate surrounding areas who are consulted on proposals for buildings that may be so tall they affect views and settings for miles around.

Today Historic England has said that limits around who is consulted on tall building proposals, defined as 20 storeys or more, need to be reviewed and a pan-London approach to skyline issues is needed. Every planning application is open to comment but over half of respondents (58%) said they do not know how to go about it.

Historic England is calling for wider public involvement in the way London develops, in the run-up to the next London Plan, so Londoners are better informed about the changes gathering pace in the city. The call comes following the recent announcement that there are now over 430 tall buildings planned for the capital.

In their open letter, the three signatories said that proposed developments are often marketed to the public using idealised imagery. They also said they support the London Assembly’s recent call for better masterplanning and a fully-developed, accessible 3D model of the city that enables people to better understand the way London’s precious skyline is developing.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:
‘Londoners know how special their city is, and they know that the future of our capital hangs in the balance. Tall buildings can make an excellent contribution to city life if they are well-placed and well-designed. But in the wrong places, they can do serious harm. It matters when tall buildings overshadow our crescents and squares, our playgrounds and palaces, canals and cathedrals.  Today, Londoners have shown that they want to have more of a say over how London’s future skyline is developed. The millions of people who live and work in the city want to be better informed and more involved in the changes that are gathering pace.’

View the press release

Open letter on tall buildings

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NLP on Councils ‘at risk’ of government planning intervention

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) has issued a new study into local plan progress,  ‘Early Adopters and the Late Majority – A Review of Local Plan Progress and Housing Requirements’, as the report identifies 21 Local Planning Authorities which are potentially most at risk of government intervention as a result of lack of plan progress. 

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) writes:
Four years on from the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Government is embarking upon further reshaping of the planning system, with one of the key objectives to streamline and quicken the pace of Local Plan production. The Housing and Planning Bill and the recommendations of the Government appointed Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) both propose measures to address the slow progress in achieving nationwide coverage of up-to-date Local Plans.

Our research shows the NPPF is bringing about a ‘significant boost’ in planned housing supply across England. Excluding London, up-to-date Local Plans are planning for 19% more housing than the equivalent household projections. It is this success Government is aiming to replicate through faster, more focussed, plan making which works with the grain of the existing architecture of the planning system.

View the press release and download the full report

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Grade II* Listed Byker Wall works completed

A £9.7 million refurbishment of the unusual and iconic Grade II* Listed Byker Wall development has now been completed, with 628 properties being worked on. 

Byker Community Trust writes:
The Iconic Grade II* Listed Byker Wall, which is owned and managed by the Byker Community Trust (BCT) Housing Association, has just undergone a £9.7 million refurbishment.

Refurbishment work to 628 flats and maisonettes including link blocks has been successfully delivered between the BCT, housing and regeneration specialist, Keepmoat and security systems provider OpenView, working in partnership with Newcastle City Council, Your Homes Newcastle and Historic England.

The internationally renowned 1.3-mile-long structure has received a full external fabric overhaul including the installation of a new roof and photovoltaics, new windows and doors, improvements to communal stairwells and entrances, a new digital aerial system, upgraded door entry and CCTV and a complete repaint in line with the original Ralph Erskine colour scheme.

The scale of the refurbishment, which has taken two years to complete, has seen the installation of 132 PV panels, the removal of 300 tonnes of asbestos and the installation of fibre optic cabling for telephone and broadband services to 628 homes enabling all residents to access faster internet and telephony services. 

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of the BCT, said: ‘When the Estate transferred from Newcastle City Council to the BCT in July 2012, we made a number of specific promises to tenants relating to investment in the Estate which included refurbishing the Byker Wall.  The Wall forms the centre piece of the Byker Estate and these improvements will make a significant difference to residents and their homes making them more energy efficient whilst improving the visual appeal of the whole Estate.  I am delighted how well our partners have worked in collaboration with us to successfully deliver this scheme, which has resulted in high levels of customer satisfaction on what has been a very complex project.  The completion of these works is another key milestone in our journey to make Byker a great place to live and work and we look forward to continuing to delivering our vision and services for our tenants in future.’

Lee Francis, Area Director for Keepmoat in the North East, said: ‘This has been a remarkable project to be involved in from day one.  The solid partnership we have with Byker Community Trust and Newcastle City Council has been instrumental in the successful delivery of this scheme.’ 

The refurbishment work has already caught the attention of judges by being shortlisted in a number of regional awards.  The Byker Wall project has been shortlisted in the Residential, Building Conservation and Infrastructure categories of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awards and the Excellence in Contractor Engagement category of the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Northern awards.

The BCT owns over 1,800 homes on the Byker Estate and has already committed over £22.5 million on the Estate with further improvements expected to be delivered in the next five years.

View the press release

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Queen’s official residences to undergo £37m tourism revamp

Tourist areas at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse are to undergo a £37m revamp, the Royal Collection has announced, with a new cafe to be built in the medieval undercroft at Windsor Castle in Berkshire as part of a £27m project with the remainder going towards the redevelopment of outside space at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

BBC news

Guardian article

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New tool measuring the social value of building sites launched

A new resource for measuring the social value created through construction has been launched as Building Social Value (BSV), developed by the Considerate Constructors Scheme, will provide the means for a third party to evaluate the social value produced by construction sites.

The scheme entails monitors from the Scheme visiting building sites and recording the social value created using the Social Value Monitoring Checklist, from which they will then write up a BSV report based on their findings.

The initiative arises from the terms of the Social Value Act 2013 which requires industry actors to focus on how they create social value.

read more….

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NHTG call for help in heritage crime survey

A new survey has been launched by University College London and Historic England, aiming to find out more about theft of heritage in buildings which are open to the public, including places of worship.

NHTG writes:
A survey on the theft of cultural property from inside listed or scheduled buildings open to the public has just been launched. This is a joint research being undertaken by the Department of Security and Crime Science University College London in partnership with Historic England. The aim is to explore the extent, patterns and perceptions of theft of cultural property from inside listed or scheduled buildings that are freely open to the public. This includes places of worship so please take the time to answer the questions about your local listed church especially if it is one you help care for.

Heritage crime is defined as ‘any offence which harms the value of England’s heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations’ (English Heritage, 2011). It can refer to a wide range of criminal offences including the unauthorised alteration of listed buildings, illegal metal detecting, theft of historic stone and metal, and criminal damage. The harms associated with heritage crimes can be far-reaching and irreparable. In recent years heritage crime has attracted greater public and political attention, likely owing to several high profile offences. This is encouraging. However, due to a lack of reliable data there is still much we don’t know about the prevalence and patterns of heritage crime, as well as effective measures to reduce heritage crime and the harms it generates.

View the news release

Answer the survey

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Call for Entries: Hudson’s Heritage Awards

The Hudson’s Heritage Awards are now open for entries, and offer an opportunity for historic building attractions and venues to showcase their innovation over ten categories, with a closing date of 30 September.

The categories are as follows:

  • Best Family Day Out
  • Best Eating Out
  • Best Shopping
  • Best Accommodation
  • Best Loos
  • Best New Discovery
  • Best Innovation
  • Best Wedding Venue
  • Best Exhibition of Event
  • Best Hidden Gem

View more information on the awards and how to enter

IHBC Awards etc

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