Planning rights: lobby of MSPs on third party right of appeal

The charity group ‘Planning Democracy’ are urging people to lobby their MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) to support a third party right of appeal being built into the Scottish planning system. 

Information on the proposals

Planning Democracy group information

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Wedgwood Collection saved

The Wedgwood collection industrial archive has been saved thanks to a public appeal and grants from a major fundraising appeal.

Save Wedgwood writes:
The Wedgwood Collection – one of the most important industrial archives in the world – has been saved, thanks to the generosity of thousands of individuals, several businesses and a number of grant-making foundations.

Our campaign has raised a total of £15.75m; the final £2.74m through a public appeal that met its target just a month after its launch. Close to 7,500 individuals donated and were matched pound-for-pound by a private charitable foundation.

We launched our appeal on 1 September with £13m already secured, thanks to significant support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (which pledged £10.867m), the Art Fund (£1m) and a small number of private trusts and foundations. Within two weeks we had raised £700,000, contributed by 4,000 members of the public. A few days later, the campaign reached £1m from the public and £1m from major donors and grant-making foundations, propelling the total to £2m.

In the last week the match fund was extended and public donations continued to flood in. The appeal surged towards its final target thanks to donations from two regional sources: £250,000 from the Bet365 Foundation, led by Denise Coates CBE, and £100,000 from Staffordshire County Council.

The Collection contains over 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts and letters, pattern books and photographs covering the 250-year history of Wedgwood. We plan to gift the Collection to the V&A and for it to remain on display at the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston, near Stoke. It will lie at the heart of a major new visitor experience at the museum, as part of Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton’s (WWRD) £34m redevelopment of the factory site – set for completion in spring 2015. Now that the Wedgwood Collection has been saved, a small fund is now in place to help manage the conservation, research and display of the Collection for years to come.

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: ‘This amazing show of public support for the Wedgwood Collection has made this the fastest fundraising campaign in the Art Fund’s 111-year history. It demonstrates nothing less than a national passion for Wedgwood – its history, its quality, its brand, its continuity – bringing about a potent combination of donations big and small, ranging from £10 gifts via text to six-figure cheques. Britain united to save this Collection. Huge thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and their ticket buyers too. Together we’ve ensured that one of the most important collections in the world can continue to be enjoyed by all.’

Anthony Jones, executive vice president and chief financial officer of WWRD: ‘Next year sees the launch of the World of Wedgwood, a new attraction that will allow visitors to explore the Wedgwood brand, its products and its history, as part of a unique and truly memorable experience.  The Collection is a key element of the Wedgwood story, bringing to life its rich heritage and craftsmanship. We are delighted its future is secure for the nation and are honoured to contribute to that future through being responsible for the operation of the Wedgwood Museum. Our focus now turns to ensuring the Museum continues to deliver the high standards of collections care and public benefit for which it has been internationally recognised in recent years.’

Thank you to all our supporters! 

Savewedgwood press release 

Wedgwood museum

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IHBC’s 2nd conservation course connection day: 4 Nov 

To help develop conservation skills at all levels, the IHBC now hosts annual ?and ?free ‘course connection days’ for students representing relevant UK conservation courses, with the IHBC paying student travel costs as well, so to make sure your course is represented at our next course connection day on 4 November in Birmingham, check with your course director, or get them to contact the IHBC’s director, Sean O’Reilly, at

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘Our next connection day is on 4 November in Birmingham so if you are interested in going along, or would like to make sure your course is represented there, do check with your course director or ask them to get in touch with me to explore this unique learning and networking opportunity.’

‘And remember, it’s not just for students on the IHBC’s recognised courses (see our web site for those details at but for any courses with sufficient built and historic environment conservation content.’

‘The UK’s conservation courses are renowned globally for their conservation standards, and we’re keen to do all we can to support them. IHBC support is limited however, as we cover all the reasonable costs for the student delegates, so we can host only one lucky student per course.  However as delegates also serve as representatives of their course, and report back to their fellow-students on the content of the day, we hope that our course connection day will add both capacity and networking opportunities across all the UK’s conservation courses.’

‘This year we also hope to have representation from English Heritage, which will ensure that the breadth of student interests, and the networking opportunities, are fully represented.’

For further details contact your course director or leader in the first instance, and if necessary ask them to contact IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly.

IHBC’s Annual Student Awards

IHBC’s Recognised Courses

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Ministers publish latest green belt guidance

Ministers have underlined the Government’s commitment to protect the green belt from development by publishing new and revised guidance.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis have insisted that thousands of brown field sites are available for development, and should be prioritised.

New advice, just published, reaffirms how councils should use their local plan to draw on protection in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), to safeguard their local area against urban sprawl, and protect the green lungs around towns and cities.

The guidance states that, once established, green belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional cases, and through the preparation or review of the local plan.

It also makes it clear that housing need – including for traveller sites – does not justify the harm done to the green belt by inappropriate development.

Pickles said: ‘This government has been very clear that when planning for new buildings, protecting our precious green belt must be paramount.

‘People don’t want to lose their countryside to urban sprawl, or see the vital green lungs around their towns and cities to unnecessary development.

‘This guidance will ensure councils can meet their housing needs by prioritising brown field sites, and fortify the green belt in their area.’

Lewis added: ‘Councils should consider how they will protect and preserve important sites in their area, especially green belt sites.’

DCLG press release

Search Planning Portal

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NI Assembly review of rural social inclusion

The Northern Ireland (NI) Assembly has launched a review of the NI social inclusion programme, looking to address the issues faced by rural communities.

The Northern Ireland Assembly writes:
The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has launched its Review into the Department’s Anti-poverty and Social Inclusion Programme.

The existing programme, which forms part of the overall Programme for Government 2011-15, was designed to address rural poverty and disadvantage and to produce cohesive and tangible strategies to eliminate hardship and to increase social inclusion in rural areas. The Committee Review will seek to examine the implementation and progress of the current programme and to make recommendations to the Minister on the way forward.

Speaking at the launch of the review, the Committee Chairperson William Irwin MLA said:  ‘We tend to think of poverty and deprivation as issues that mainly affect those living in our cities and towns. But of course the current downturn in the overall economy and continuing pressures on the local agricultural sector are very real factors which can leave many rural communities in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

‘The Committee has been keenly aware for some time that a review of the current programme is necessary. Economic and social issues change over time and we must ensure that any strategy that aims to tackle deprivation and disadvantage is current, workable and fit for purpose.  In order to support all those who choose to live and work in our rural communities, we need to join together to build a strong rural infrastructure and by doing so ensure that the livelihoods and social needs of future generations are protected and nurtured. This aim is at the very centre of our review’

The Committee Deputy Chairperson Joe Byrne MLA added: ‘There are many factors that contribute to feelings of social exclusion and isolation that are exclusive to rural communities.  Lack of access to public transport, public services, employment and educational opportunities are very real issues that affect the day to day lives of many rural dwellers.  During the course of our review we will be calling on rural communities and representatives to tell us about their experiences. This we hope, will help the Committee to shape a full and accurate picture of the realities of rural life and will aid us in presenting practical and effective recommendations to the Minister and her Department’.

NI Assembly press release

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EH: new guidance on LA heritage assets

English Heritage (EH) has published guidance aimed at both local authorities and community groups, which intends to provide clear advice on when and how to transfer heritage assets from public to community ownership.

The publication, ‘Pillars of the Community: The transfer of local authority heritage assets’, finds that in a new climate of shared responsibility and trust, local authorities and communities both have pivotal roles to play in preserving England’s heritage at a local level.

Split into three parts, Part A of the guidance explains the context of asset transfer, and community asset ownership and management. Parts B and C provide detailed guidance from the viewpoint of the local authority and community respectively, which is also backed up by tips and checklists.

My Community Rights

Download the new guidance

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PM’s ‘Better Public Building’ Award winner: Flood defences

The winner of the Prime Minister’s (PM’s) Better Public Building Award has been announced as the Medmerry flood defence project in Sussex, with the award presented at the British Construction Industry Awards ceremony in London.

The Cabinet Office writes:
An innovative flood defence project in Sussex has won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award that celebrates all round excellence in construction.  Opened in November 2013, the Medmerry flood defence project includes 4 miles of new sea walls to reduce flood risk for hundreds of local properties. The lifesaving defences held firm during last year’s floods and is seen as a gold standard of flood defence in the UK.

The project was led by the Environment Agency. It created a new wetland for local wildlife with 183 hectares of intertidal habitat. Much of the site is now managed by the RSPB as a nature reserve. This new form of defence has helped to save £300,000 taxpayers’ money each year, the cost of repairing the shingle bank. It also supports local economic growth by allowing businesses to operate year round.

Dr Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said: ‘This award recognises the excellent work of our dedicated staff and contractors in protecting people and property through delivering innovative and effective flood risk management schemes. The Medmerry managed realignment scheme protects 348 homes, important infrastructure that serves over 5,000 households and creates an intertidal habitat at the same time that will boost tourism in the area.’

The award was presented at the British Construction Industry Awards ceremony in Park Lane, London. It recognises projects that are completed on time, on budget and bring real change to the community. Previous award winners include the Tate Modern and the Velodrome at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

UK Gov news

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Sir Tony Baldry appointed Chair of CBC

The Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP has been appointed as the new Chair of the Church Buildings Council (CBC), it was announced by the Church of England on 17th September 2014.

The CBC is a statutory body accountable to the General Synod which is supported by a group of expert officers within the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division.  It provides advice to chancellors, Diocesan Advisory Committees and others on all matters relating to the Church of England’s 16,000 church buildings.

Baldry will succeed Anne Sloman OBE when he stands down as Second Estates Commissioner at the end of this Parliament in April 2015.   Sir Tony was part of the team that negotiated the extra £30 million from the government for the Listed Places of Worship Scheme.

Sir Tony said: ‘I am delighted to have accepted the position of Chair of the Church Buildings Council. Churches around the country are vital centres for local communities and wider society, preserving our rich heritage for future generations, and I very much welcome the opportunity to support the Council in their work.’

C of E news

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Welsh Museums, DCMS on visitors, and NTS ‘conservation’

This month has brought several items of ‘good news’ for museums and visitor attractions; The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) reports that August brought record numbers of visitors to English museums, the Welsh Government are promoting the first Welsh Museum week and National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has announced the launch of a regional ‘conservation conversation’ event showcasing heritage of Fife, the Lothians, Stirling and Perthshire. 

The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) writes:
August saw the highest ever visitor numbers to DCMS museums and galleries in England, according to official statistics published today. A total of 5,899,043 visits were recorded in that month, the highest monthly total since records began.

Visits to the museums and galleries in August 2014 were up by more than half a million, 10.5% higher than in August 2013.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘This is outstanding news. Our museums are world beaters with their priceless collections, their scholarship and their impeccable customer service, so it is fantastic to see that this is matched by visit numbers.  We have invested so that the big national museums and galleries offer free entry for all, and these figures provide a glorious vindication for that policy.’

The Welsh Government writes:
The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, has encouraged people to discover what treasures await in their local museum as part of the first Welsh Museum Festival.

This week museums across Wales are holding special events and exhibitions designed to attract people of all ages to visit and learn more about what some of Wales’ world-class museums have on offer.

The Deputy Minister kick-started the week with a visit to the National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon and will be at St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff, later this week to promote and celebrate Wales’ outstanding cultural offer.

The Deputy Minister will also address the Museums Association conference, which is in Cardiff for the first time in over fifteen years, in which he will talk about the vital role museums play in engaging the public with Wales’ culture and history.

The Deputy Minister said ‘We are fortunate to have a rich culture and heritage here in Wales which is showcased and celebrated in National and local museums across the country. Understanding and remembering our past is important in recognising who we are and in making decisions about our future. Culture also plays a crucial role in supporting learning for young people, adults and families, and provides valuable volunteering opportunities to learn transferable skills.  Unfortunately museums are often imagined as stuffy and quiet places, but it is time to shake this image. This week I am launching an innovative new interactive programme at National Roman Legion Museum, which uses cutting-edge technology to enable people to find out more about the collections as they walk about the site.

‘I will also be at St Fagans, which tops Wales’ list of heritage attractions. With support from us and the Heritage Lottery Fund it is undergoing an exciting redevelopment programme which will make big improvements to the current facilities and will make it even more inviting for people of all ages and backgrounds to immerse themselves in Welsh history. The project will provide many opportunities for volunteering, as well as giving a huge boost to the tourism economy.

I’d encourage people to get out and visit museums across Wales to see how they are changing and be inspired!’

The NTS writes:
The National Trust for Scotland is showcasing its heritage work across Fife, the Lothians, Stirling and Perthshire at a special conservation conversation on Saturday 25 October.  This is the latest in a series of informal, local events aimed at anyone with a passion for the built, natural or cultural heritage of Scotland.

Taking place at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Birthplace Museum, the programme will share some of the developments at Trust sites across East and Central Scotland.

Experts will also share their insights on:

  • Stopping voracious beasties snacking on ancient artefacts
  • Inspiring the next generation through learning and outreach
  • Caring for the countryside.

IHBC newsblogs on museums

Museum week events

DCMS press release

Welsh Government Museums Week press release

NTS conservation events news release

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New IHBC journal Context now online: Valuing Heritage

Context Issue 133

New IHBC journal Context now online: Valuing Heritage.  The latest issue of the journal of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), Context, to go online is our ‘Valuing Heritage’ issue, No. 133, from March 2014, which looks at conflict and controversy around how we define the ‘value’ of heritage assets.

Articles include:

  • Rebecca Madgin Valuing Heritage: Plural, Selective And Transitory
  • Sian Jones Conservation And Social Value: An Ambivalent Relationship
  • Gareth Hoskins The Vagaries Of Value
  • Katy Layton-Jones The Parks Conundrum
  • Jenny Timothy How Leicester Uses Value To Protect Its Heritage
  • Chloe Oswald Positive Results For Derby City Centre
  • Duncan Melville Heritage’s Economic Contribution
  • Sophie Norton Fluctuating Heritage Values At The Borobeck Store
  • Clare Smith, Christine Manly And James Webb Celebrating A 1970s Housing Estate

If you have any suggestions for articles or other material contact Fiona Newton at:

As ever, themed issues of Context also include more general conservation articles as well as news, book reviews and reports from IHBC’s officers.  Issues are posted online approximately six months after they are issued to members.

If you have any suggestions for articles or other material contact Fiona Newton at:

For information on Context’s future issues, guidance for authors, and links to the journal’s archives see the IHBC website 

To find out more about the IHBC, take advantage of our mobile friendly introduction to the institute’s 25000+ of web page resources at IHBC Webstarter

For background info see IHBC NewsBlogs

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3m visitors make HODs 2014 biggest festival of heritage

Heritage Open Days (HODs) broke records across the board this September, cementing its place as England’s biggest celebration of local history.

Heritage Alliance writes:
In its 20th anniversary year, the four-day festival welcomed a spectacular three million visitors, up 900,000 on last year. The number of events skyrocketed too, up almost 100 on the previous biggest year, to 4,695.

Organisers around the country saw visitor numbers soar; in Kings Lynn over 4,000 people queued to see the World War II Air Raid Shelters, while in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, every event saw record numbers of visitors, with a 50% rise overall. The Landmark Trust reported 9,000 visitors at their twelve sites, while new events did similarly well; in Beverley, Yorkshire, a cluster of privately-owned Georgian homes saw over 450 people queuing to visit the houses. Smaller sites also hit new highs – Rayleigh Windmill in Essex welcomed 260 people – its largest number ever recorded, while Ashlyns School in Berkhamstead was overflowing, with 120 visitors.

‘Heritage Open Days 2014 set a new standard for this much-loved event,’ said the Heritage Alliance Chairman and patron of Heritage Open Days, Loyd Grossman, ‘and the huge jump in visitor numbers proves that if you make history accessible, fun and affordable it appeals to everyone. Every year, Heritage Open Days shows what local communities can achieve, with passion, commitment and imagination. Each one of our thousands of organisers and volunteers should feel proud to have played a part in making our 20th anniversary event such a spectacular success.’

This is particularly welcome news for the HODs partnership of the National Trust, The Heritage Alliance and Civic Voice which has been managing the programme supported by English Heritage since 2012.

For more information visit the HODs website

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Planning (Wales) Bill launched

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant launched the new Planning (Wales) Bill this week, with proposals for the modernisation of the Welsh planning system including changes to regional planning, new pre-application consultation procedures and amendments to enforcement processes.

The Welsh Government writes:
The Planning (Wales) Bill will enable communities across Wales to benefit from a streamlined system which will support the delivery of the homes, jobs and infrastructure that Wales requires.

The Bill proposes:

  • Community consultations on major developments will be required to take place as early as possible to ensure a more robust and speedy planning system and a clearer framework for how developers engage communities in the planning of our cities, home towns, villages and open spaces;
  • Planning decisions will be made at the appropriate level of Government – in future Ministers will decide on planning applications for development of national significance to Wales;
  • Some planning issues extend beyond the boundaries of a single local planning authority and need to be tackled at a sub-regional level, through a strategic development plan, prepared by a strategic planning panel. This panel will comprise representatives of local authorities, community, environmental and business interests.
  • A more effective enforcement system which will enable communities to see more prompt action against breaches of planning control

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said: ‘I’m delighted to introduce this landmark bill, the first of its kind in Wales, which will see the planning process strengthened from top to bottom, resulting in an effective, enabling system which best serves the people of Wales and is fit for the 21st century.  Amongst the improvements that communities can look forward to are clarity on how and when to engage in the planning and consultation processes improved monitoring of local authorities and a refined appeals process that ensures greater fairness, transparency and speed.’

‘The Bill also proposes to amend existing powers in order to create more resilient local planning authorities with a wider range of specialist skill sets. I have made no secret of my view that a reduction in the number of planning authorities from the current 25 is essential for the future of planning in Wales and this Bill strengthens this position.’

‘In addition to this, the Bill proposes that Welsh Ministers take decision making responsibility for planning applications for developments of national significance, we are consulting on this and propose including energy projects between 25 and 50 megawatts. This will ensure that schemes with an impact on communities across Wales are considered in both a wider and local context.

‘Planning is at the heart of our communities, from building an extension on a house to building a new local school. The introduction of this Bill is the beginning of an exciting period for planning in Wales and I will soon be putting in place additional measures to ensure that the Bill’s objectives are met in full. I look forward to seeing these reforms, coupled with a ‘can do’ culture across the planning sector, providing a system which can make a positive and lasting impact on our communities.’

View the full bill documentation and track its progress through the Welsh Assembly website

IHBC newsblogs on planning reforms throughout the UK 

Welsh Government press release 

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Scottish Government Draft Budget 2015/2016: Views by 22 Oct

Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney set out the proposed 2015-16 Scottish Government budget in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, including details of Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT), and the Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT), with the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee inviting views on the draft budget by Wednesday 22 October.

The Scottish Government writes:
Proposed new tax rates are set to benefit first-time buyers and those at the lower end of the housing market, it was confirmed today.  The rates for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) – which will replace UK Stamp Duty Land Tax from April 2015 – were announced as part of the Draft Scottish Budget 2015/16.

The tax will be the first to be introduced by the Scottish Parliament in 300 years and will change the way people pay tax on property purchases.  The new rates will only be payable on the portion of the total value which falls within each band. This contrasts with the ‘slab’ structure of stamp duty under which the higher tax rate is payable on the whole purchase price when a threshold is crossed.

The rates will also:

  • Take 5,000 additional house purchases out of tax by ensuring that nobody will pay tax on the first £135,000 of their house purchase – £10,000 higher than the current stamp duty threshold;
  • Ensure that no tax will be payable on 45 per cent of transactions;
  • Reduce the tax charge relative to stamp duty for a further 44,000 house purchases up to £325,000; and
  • Ensure that 90 per cent of homebuyers will either pay less or the same amount as they would under current arrangements.

The two devolved taxes will be collected by Revenue Scotland and are expected to bring in an estimated £558 million in 2015-16. Scotland’s block grant will be adjusted to recognise that these tax receipts will flow directly to Holyrood and not to the Treasury in London.

Scottish Landfill Communities Fund
Communities near landfill sites will benefit from increased funding from the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund the Finance Secretary John Swinney outlined today.

Today’s budget delivers on the ask of the Scottish people during the referendum to build a prosperous and fair Scotland and following this Mr Swinney announced the proposals to establish a fund for local worthy causes. This will be financed through a tax credit system and projects within 10 miles of a landfill site or waste transfer station will be eligible.

Mr Swinney made the announcement during the Budget today where he confirmed the standard rate of Scottish Landfill Tax should be at £82.60 per tonne and lower rate £2.60 per tonne.

The Scottish Landfill Tax Communities Fund will be similar to the UK Landfill Communities Fund (UK LCF) though the Scottish Government proposes to increase the tax credit limit by ten per cent over the UK LCF at introduction.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: ‘Those living close to landfill sites can experience some detrimental impacts which is why this fund will provide for communities or environmental projects in the vicinity of land sites. By increasing the tax credit allowance by ten per cent over the UK model we are enhancing the role of the communities fund and increasing the funding available to address environmental harm without increasing the burden of taxation.’

Scottish Landfill Communities Fund press release

LBTT press release 

Parliament TV recording of the budget announcement

Scottish Budget Draft Budget 2015-16 Devolved Taxes – Forecasting Methodology Report

Background and invitation to respond  to the 2015/16 budget 

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