‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ update

‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ (CHCFE) is a two-year project funded by the EU Culture Programme (2007-2013) that aims to raise greater awareness on the multiple benefits of cultural heritage and present policy recommendations for tapping into heritage’s full potential.

CHCFE writes:
As the CHCFE project gains momentum analysing existing evidence of the many impacts of cultural heritage in Europe, the project consortium would like to present you with the latest project news and updates.

You are invited to share this information with your colleagues and through your networks. Together we can ensure cultural heritage makes an even stronger contribution to a sustainable Europe

Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe website

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BEFS report on Community Empowerment Bill

BEFS have published a blog post on their website about the recent Cross Party Group on Architecture & the Built Environment group meeting, summarizing the key points and debates from the CEB.

BEFS notes summarise the key points from presenters:

  • Strategic View – Derek Mackay MSP – The Minister For Local Government And Planning
  • Council View – Stephanie-Anne Harris, Strategic Development Manager, Culture And Sport, City Of Edinburgh Council.
  • Community View – Ian Menzies, Treasurer Locus Breadalbane
  • Discussion from attendees 

BEFS article

IHBC newsblogs on Community Empowerment Bill

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Wigan revamp: £60m returns street pattern

The Galleries shopping centre in Wigan will be redeveloped after Wigan Council approved a £60m privately funded scheme to modernise the facility and re-establish the town’s old street pattern, moving Wigan Market back to its original location on Market Street.

Wigan Council writes:
A £60million masterplan that could transform Wigan town centre and create 400 jobs has been given the go-ahead.

The privately-funded scheme to turn the Galleries shopping centre into a modern retail destination including space for a cinema, gym, restaurants and leisure complex has been approved by Wigan Council.

The plans also include re-establishing the town’s old street pattern and moving Wigan Market to Market Street, where it was originally located.

The application was approved by the council’s cross-party planning committee today (Tuesday 11th November). The developers, Vale Retail, plan to rename the Galleries the Makinson Quarter and spend £60m on plans to revitalise a major part of Wigan town centre. Rather than rebuilt, the shopping centre would be reconfigured and remodelled creating the larger retail units modern retailers require.

Councillor David Molyneux, deputy leader of Wigan Council, said: ‘I’m delighted councillors on the planning committee have agreed with our officers that this is a wonderful opportunity for Wigan and one not to be missed.’

‘That a private developer wants to invest such a large sum of money into the town centre is a tremendous vote of confidence in Wigan. This will provide a big boost to the local economy and demonstrates the huge potential of this area.’

The plans include relocating the historic Wigan Market to its original home on Market Street. The new location would be directly opposite Wigan bus station, which is also due to undergo a £16m revamp.

Meanwhile, Market Place in Wigan town centre will get a £1.3m make-over next year. The council is funding work to remove the current walls and benches in the public area and replace them with a water feature, an open seating area and trees. The aim is to make Market Place fit to host large events.

Richard Waterfield, chair of Waterfield’s Bakery and the Wigan Forward Board, the private/public partnership that works to promote the borough’s economy, said: ‘These are exciting times for Wigan town centre. We all know the economic climate is tough and changing retail habits are having an impact on the high street.

‘But Wigan town centre is already coping comparably well in this climate. The fact private developers want to invest such vast sums in the town speaks volumes about its potential and its underlying strengths.

‘I think the plans for the Galleries will make Wigan one of the best shopping destinations in the North West and I look forward to seeing these proposals become a reality.’

Wigan Council article

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£14M from SG RCGF includes heritage and regeneration

The Scottish Government (SG) has announced details of a £14 million boost for regeneration under capital grant funds, including £350,000 to the Uist Heritage Regeneration Programme and £1.8 million for a category B listed building  

The Scottish Government writes:
A £14 million cash boost to transform disadvantaged areas in Scotland has been announced by Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess and Cllr Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability.

A total of 18 local projects will receive a share of £14.343 million from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF). This is the second round of funding to be delivered under RCGF, which is already providing 22 projects with £27.6 million in grant support.

The fund has been developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with local authorities to deliver new and improved infrastructure in deprived areas.  Overall, £50 million is being invested through the fund in the period 2014/15 and 2015/16.

This includes £8 million set aside for Urban Regeneration Companies (URCs) to further support the successful regeneration of some of our most disadvantaged communities.

Awards to be made in the latest funding round include:

  • £1.4 million towards the Denny Town Centre regeneration project, which will help create a redeveloped town centre square combining a contemporary library with enhanced IT and community facilities.
  • £1.3 million to support the delivery of a community campus in the Menzieshill area of Dundee that will provide a new GP surgery, library, learning centre and community space.
  • £1.63 million to support the Middlefield Community Project in Aberdeen by developing state of the art purpose-built accommodation as an addition to the existing Henry Rae Community Centre. It will provide childcare places, youth facilities, as well as a space for local community services, adult learning and recreational community activities for all groups.
  • £1.8 million towards the restoration of a derelict and vacant landmark B-listed building in Parkhead, Glasgow. The building will be converted into a local enterprise centre and skills and employability hub by housing a flexible community space and office suites capable of accommodating businesses at all stages of development.
  • £350,000 to the Uist Heritage Regeneration Programme, which comprises a suite of three community-led interlinked heritage developments that will collectively enhance the fragile and peripheral islands economically, socially, culturally and environmentally.
  • £397,308 to a Horticultural Training and Community Facility in Greenock, a community initiative supported and facilitated by Inverclyde Council. The building will comprise training, meeting, and office space, along with a hall area and café. The facility will support individuals and help move them back into sustainable employment.

Mrs Burgess said: ‘Regenerating disadvantaged communities is a key priority for the Scottish Government, and I am delighted to join with COSLA in announcing this £14 million investment in 18 projects under the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.  Not only will these projects help transform neighbourhoods and deliver real benefits to local communities, but they will also contribute to stimulating economic growth by supporting and creating jobs.’

‘This announcement brings the total number of projects to receive funding under RCGF to 40, and increases our overall joint investment to £50 million over a two-year period.  I am pleased that COSLA continues to work with us on this initiative. It is a great example of how by working together Scotland’s public bodies are delivering real improvements in local communities for the benefit of those who live there.’

Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability said: ‘I am pleased that again the joint COSLA and Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) is helping to improve the physical, economic, and social outcomes across communities in Scotland, resulting in long term strategic and transformational change.  Such large scale regeneration projects help deliver wider impacts of employment, land remediation, and improving existing infrastructure, along with levering in additional funding from a variety of sources.  Local authorities remain committed to regeneration activity, and funds such as the RCGF allow communities to achieve their vision for enhancing their local areas by delivering viable and sustainable regeneration outcomes.’

Scottish Gov press release 

IHBC newsblogs on regeneration

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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Grotesques re-invented at St. George’s

The College of St George has been working in partnership with the City and Guilds of London Art School in establishing an imaginative carving programme which is producing exciting new grotesque sculptures for St George’s Chapel at Windsor.

The replacement sculptures aim to reproduce the scale and detail of the original mediaeval conception whilst allowing students the opportunity to be inventive in designing new carvings. The new grotesques replace heavily eroded Victorian grotesques which themselves replaced medieval carvings of unknown design.

In architecture the term ‘grotesque’ means a carved stone figure. Grotesques are often confused with gargoyles, but the distinction is that gargoyles are figures that contain a water-spout through the mouth, while grotesques do not. This type of sculpture is also called a chimera. Grotesques and Gargoyles experienced their heyday in the Gothic period. 

Students were encouraged and mentored throughout the process. Visits to the Chapel by City & Guilds students included a close up look at some of the 15th century wooden carvings in the Quire to help fire their imagination; visits to the City & Guilds by some of the Chapel team and the Sculpture Group of the Fabric Advisory Committee helped the dialogue remain fresh and exciting.

Among the really imaginative designs is a recreation of the famous ear-mouse from 1997, which had a human ear protruding from its back. Other designs are a fish with a human head, the earth mother and a the Hindu elephant god, Ganesha. Not all designs were accepted by the dean, though. For instance a pair of feet with sneakers was rejected. However, according to the Guardian the dean and canons feel elated by the charm of the new gargoyles laughing down from high up on the outer wall of the chapel. The new carvings are in a creamy Syreford stone from the Cotswold.

The college and church of St George were founded by Edward III in 1348 at the same time as the Order of the Garter. However, the present chapel is a light-filled wonder of late Gothic architecture, which was commissioned by Edward IV in 1475, who was also buried there. Despite the fact that it is full of royal tombs including those of Henry VIII and Charles I the college of St. George is ain fact an independent institution. At its heart it is a community of people who live and work together to offer worship to God, prayers for the Sovereign and the Order of the Garter, service to the society and hospitality to visitors.

 Medieval Histories article

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Edinburgh Castle crowned the UK’s best heritage attraction

Edinburgh Castle has been named the UK’s Best Heritage Attraction for a record fourth year running at the 2014 British Travel Awards (BTAs).

Historic Scotland writes:
This year’s prestigious BTAs – the largest consumer voted awards in the UK – saw the castle, Scotland’s number one paid for visitor attraction, once again lift the title, following a public vote.

With over one million public votes cast as part of this year’s awards, the accolade of Best UK Heritage Attraction tops off a bumper year for the world-famous Scottish landmark, following a record-breaking summer season for the castle, which welcomes over 1.4 million visitors annually.

Commenting on the Award, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: ‘With its dramatic setting, centuries of colourful history and panoramic cityscape views over the Scottish capital, Edinburgh Castle continues to enthral visitors from around the world.  To be named the winner of this prestigious award for the fourth year running reflects the enduring appeal of this iconic Scottish landmark, which plays a key role in promoting Scotland to visitors both at home and overseas.’

Scotsman article

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EH: Sustainable growth in historic & cathedral towns

English Heritage (EH) has published a news report that outlines trends in policy and practice in historic towns and cities, as well as major developments anticipated in 50 settlements. 

EH writes:
The Sustainable Growth of Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns was commissioned to look at the implication of proposed development on cathedral cities and historic towns, some of our most precious places.

This report investigates the effectiveness of local plan-making in protecting England’s heritage at the scale of the character and setting of smaller cathedral cities and historic towns.  It explores how current policy and practice address potential tensions between meeting local development needs and giving proper weight to conserving the special qualities of historic settlements.

It contains case studies that show how some of the cities and towns are addressing the issues on balancing heritage protection against economic growth and how others are having to make difficult decisions.

View information on the report and download a copy

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Scottish Ten Documentary

A documentary exploring the work of the Scottish Ten 3D digital scanning project has been released online.

Mike Brooks writes:
Mike Brooks, Historic Scotland’s photographer, followed the Scottish Ten team from Historic Scotland, the Digital Design Studio at The Glasgow School of Art and CyArk as they digitally document Scotland’s World Heritage Sites and international heritage sites.

The film delves into the reasons behind the project and what the 3D data resources can be used for.

View the film 

More information on the Scottish Ten project can be found at www.scottishten.org

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IHBC-sponsored Parliamentary reception: Scots’ fuel poverty

Scottish Parliament

The IHBC co-sponsored the Scottish Parliament’s Construction Cross Party Group (CPGC) Garden Lobby reception for MSP’s and invited guests on 2 December, themed around ‘Addressing Fuel Poverty In Scotland’s Traditional Homes’, which was aimed at getting support for an in-depth survey of traditional buildings to determine in more detail the market for repair, and attended.

The Scottish Parliament motion debate considered: ‘That the Parliament understands that most residential properties built before 1919, including those in Angus North and Mearns, show significant disrepair and that a quarter have extensive disrepair; understands that residents in these dwellings are more likely to be in fuel poverty than those in more modern buildings; recognises the social consequences of poor housing conditions, and notes calls for those responsible for these properties to make a priority of effecting suitable repairs.’ 

Fuel Poverty and Traditional Buildings debate text

Watch the debate on ‘Parliament TV’

CPGC minutes and information on the group 

Garden Lobby event

The Official Report on the debate

IHBC newsblog on sponsoring the Construction Cross Party Group

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IHBC welcomes NHTG offer: L3 traditional building course

The IHBC has welcomes the offer by the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) of a special deal on the Level 3 Award in ‘Understanding Repair & Maintenance of Traditional Pre-1919 Buildings’, at Hay-On-Wye on 16 & 17 December, aimed at helping contractors and craftspeople working with traditional buildings, while also noting the need for government to stimulate demand for such skills.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘Any course of learning like this can only help lift the base line of skills in the sector, and the NHTG is doing a great job in helping raise standards here.  At the same time we must continue to push government to promote client demand for these skills by addressing the obvious inequities in the tax system.’

‘The IHBC’s recent meeting with the Treasury on tax issues for historic fabric brought a response that ‘any proposal for a relief carries the risk of adding further complexity to the tax system, which the government is committed to simplifying.’  That position lacks any credibility as we can seen the raft of electioneering VAT rebates for vote-friendly charities.’ 

The National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) writes:
The National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) is pleased to announce a special training course in Hay-On-Wye on the 16th & 17th of December at the wonderful Hay Castle. The course, aimed at contractors and craftspeople working on traditional buildings, will help them to understand vital conservation principals and legislation requirements and considerations crucial for the appropriate care and repair of old buildings.’

Through a partnership with Lantra, utilising funds from Rural Development Programme England (RDPE), the NHTG are also able to offer the course at a considerably reduced rate for eligible rurally based businesses in England, although the course is open to contractors across the UK. The normal price for the course is £465, but this one is being offered at £345 and if you are eligible for RDPE funding (Rural Businesses based in England only-postcode eligibility applies), then it could be as low as £82! (Maximum cost for eligible individuals is £125).

The two day course, ‘Level 3 Award in Understanding Repair & Maintenance of Traditional Pre1919 Buildings’ is seen by the NHTG as a pre-requisite for those working on older buildings, whether they are listed or not. Cathie Clarke, General Manager of the NHTG says ‘many people believe that only listed buildings require special consideration when it comes to their repair and maintenance. But the reality is that the majority of buildings constructed before 1919 were made out of traditional materials, using traditional methods and skills. It is therefore imperative for the continued sustainability of our historic buildings that those working on them have an appreciation of how they were constructed, and an understanding of how they should best be looked after. This is particularly important when pressures to improve energy efficiency of traditional buildings could lead to inappropriate actions being taken, that could in turn lead to long term damage.’

The course, delivered by industry experts, could also be the first step for someone wishing to gain a full Heritage NVQ Level 3 diploma, as the L3 Award gained by passing the end of course exam, would count towards the full qualification. (Anyone achieving the full Heritage L3 is also able to access the Heritage CSCS card-increasingly being asked for by heritage agencies and other organisations as proof of competency to work on heritage buildings).

In addition to contractors, the course is equally suitable as Continuous Professional Development for professionals such as architects, engineers and surveyors who wish to improve their building conservation knowledge.

Places are limited however, so booking is absolutely essential. To check funding eligibility and to book, email info@the-nhtg.org.uk or call the NHTG Helpdesk, 01246 252363 (Tue-Thu, 9:30am-3:00pm). Please note: A minimum of 8 trainees is required to run this course – maximum of 20.

Course details 

For recent VAT rebates see Civil Society news

IHBC calendar of events, searchable by Areas of Competence 

IHBC CPD forms

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IHBC says: Check out #heritageday

The IHBC has welcomed the energetic discussions at the Heritage Alliance’s Heritage Day in London on 4 December, which also saw the heritage heroes awards for Preston Bus Station & Howsham Mill, all of which can be reviewed by following tweets at #heritageday.

For IHBC tweets see our home page links or Twitter

For the Heritage Alliance heritage day see Twitter

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Heroes Awards to Preston Bus Station & Howsham Mill

The campaign to save Preston’s bus station from demolition and the project to rescue the derelict Howsham Mill, near York, have scooped joint wins at the Heritage Alliance Heroes Awards.

In the fifth year of the Heritage Alliance Heroes Awards, the Preston Bus Station campaign was named joint winner with a project to rescue the derelict Howsham Mill, near York.

Lancashire Evening Post writes:
Heritage Alliance chairman Loyd Grossman presented the award to John Wilson from the Save Preston Bus Station campaign, during The Alliance’s Annual Heritage Day at the Glaziers Hall in Central London today.

Loyd Grossman said: ‘It is fantastic to award this year’s heritage heroes award to both Howsham Mill and Preston Bus Station who represent the power and passion of volunteers throughout the heritage sector. The Save Preston Bus Station Campaign demonstrates the hard work and tenacity of volunteers in saving a formerly unloved and unprotected example of Brutalist architecture. While the volunteers were often diffuse and expressed within a range of social networks, their coming together of interests represents a public re-evaluation and democratisation of the building’s value.’

Campaigner John Wilson said: ‘To be recognised nationally by The Heritage Alliance and winning this award is a tremendous achievement for everyone connected with our campaign to save Preston Bus Station. It has been a long hard campaign, at times it looked like we had lost the battle when the second listing application failed. Several members faded away, but we took on the challenge to fight Preston City Council head on.’

‘After English Heritage sent in their own team to assess the building we knew we had a chance to turn this result around, with Angela Brady in London, there was only going to be one winner. On this special date, September 23 2013, the bus station was awarded Grade II listed status. We were bursting with pride: it was like scoring the winning goal in added on time and winning the FA Cup.’ 

For Howsham Mill see http://howshammill.ning.com and Yorkshire Press

For Preston Bus Station see Lancashire Post article

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Budget news update – Autumn Statement 2014

Changes to section 106 negotiations, performance thresholds for major applications and new proposals for compulsory purchase have been put forward as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement 2014.

Section 1.141 of the HM Government budget report states:
The government has taken significant steps to speed up planning decisions. Building on this progress, the government will take further action to speed up the end-to-end planning process for major and minor applications, and to support SMEs, including:

  • ensuring that the principle of development need only be established once, to give greater certainty and allow locally-supported development to proceed more quickly
  • taking steps to speed up section 106 negotiations, including revised guidance, consulting on a faster process for reaching agreement, considering how timescales for agreement could be introduced, and improving transparency on the use of section 106 funds
  • keeping the speed of decisions on major applications under review, with the minimum performance threshold increasing to 50% of major decisions on time as performance continues to improve
  • publishing new data on local authorities’ performance in meeting their statutory duty to process smaller planning applications within 8 weeks
  • working with industry and local authorities to test whether more can be done to support the approval of small sites in the planning system
  • publishing proposals for consultation at Budget 2015 on making the Compulsory Purchase Regime clearer, faster and fairer, with the aim of bringing forward more brownfield land for development 

Download the full budget report 

 Autumn Statement

IHBC newsblogs on budget reforms

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Scottish Land Reform consultation targets development ‘barriers’

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced proposals to ‘clamp-down’ on landowners who pose a ‘barrier’ to development as part of land reform in a consultation that closes on 5 February 2015.

She also said business rate exemptions for shooting and deerstalking estates would be scrapped as part of a series of ‘radical’ land reforms.

Sturgeon highlighted plans for a Land Reform Bill as she outlined her administration’s priorities and latest legislative programme.

This measure would give ministers power to intervene ‘where the scale of land ownership or the conduct of a landlord is acting as a barrier to sustainable development’.

Scottish Gov summary and Consultation

The Planner article

The Scotsman consultation article  and article on Nicola Sturgeon

Search Planning Portal

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