‘Straw Bale House’ farmer seeks grain silo conversions to studio apts

Planning Portal has reported that the ‘straw bale house’ farmer who was the subject of planning enforcement has submitted a planning application for conversion works to grain silos on his land.

The application is entitled ‘Conversion of two grain silos, both substantial corrugated steel construction on reinforced concrete base foundations to two single storey studio apartments. To be clad in shiplaps weatherboarding and insulated, with the installation of windows, doors and insulated ceiling. Sited next to a building built in brick with a tiled roof in the style of a house’

Read more….

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New on IHBC’s Conservation Wiki: Joe Orsi on wrought iron… and on the Wiki – ‘A great tool for professional conservators and crafts.’

cons_wiki_wroughtironThe IHBC’s Conservation Wiki resource on Designing Buildings Wiki has had a new entry on Wrought iron posted by Joe Orsi IHBC, who described the resource as ‘easy to navigate and use. A great tool for professional conservators and crafts.’

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘Joe’s article is just the sort of contribution we want to encourage with our support for this open access and public service. His piece has already been rightly applauded by one user as ‘an excellent and informative entry’ and I couldn’t agree more!’

‘I hope lots more IHBC members will take advantage of the opportunity to impart knowledge in this way, while the IHBC will also be using the Wiki pages to spread the word about our work, including more Context articles as well as our Notes on Research and Guidance’.

Architect Dr Gregor Harvie, Co-founder of Designing Buildings Wiki said: ‘Joe’s article about wrought iron is exactly the sort of thing we want people to add to Conservation Wiki.’

‘It introduces readers to a fascinating subject and provides great links to other sources of other information. There must be lots of conservation experts out there with this sort of knowledge to share.’

‘Adding it to Conservation Wiki will help make everyone better informed.’

See the article at http://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Wrought_iron

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New NI Historic Building Council members announced

The members of the Northern Ireland (NI) Historic Building Council have been announced by Communities Minister Paul Givan, after an open competition.

The Northern Ireland Department for Communities writes:

Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA has announced the appointment of the following new Members to the Historic Building Council following open competition:

  • Mr John Anderson
  • Mr Ciaran Andrews
  • Mrs Johanna Higgins
  • Mr Erl Johnston
  • Mr Paul Kendrick
  • Mr Charles McMurray MBE
  • Dr Tanja Poppelreuter

These seven appointments are with effect from 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2019.

He has also announced the appointment of the following new Members to the Historic Monuments Council following open competition:

  • Miss Christina O’Regan
  • Mr Robert Wilson

These two appointments are with effect from 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2021.

Welcoming the appointments, the Minister said: ‘I am delighted to make these appointments to the Historic Buildings Council and Historic Monuments Council. The individuals have a wealth of experience that will be of great assistance to both Councils, helping government maintain our built heritage for future generations, as well as allowing our assets to be positively developed to realise their full potential.’

View the news release

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Maiden speech of Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley: WHS & ‘visiting places’ important

Karen Bradley, Culture Secretary gave her maiden speech at the Liverpool Philharmonic this week, mentioning the importance of the world heritage site designation (WHS) to Liverpool and the importance of ‘visiting ancient and beautiful places’ to the economy, aiming to make ‘arts and culture a central part of everyone’s life’.

View the full speech

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SG Local Design Fund: £300,000 to ‘help local people have a say’ – Charrettes’ & ‘Activating Ideas’

£300,000 is available under two Scottish Government (SG) grant schemes which are designed to help local people have a say in the development of their community (the Design Charrettes programme and the Activating Ideas Fund).

The Scottish Government writes:

Communities across Scotland will have the chance to map out the future of their towns with design experts.  The Scottish Government is launching two funds to allow people to have a direct role in making their towns and villages better places to live.

Funding of £300,000 is available across two grant schemes – the Design Charrettes programme and the Activating Ideas Fund.  Charrettes bring together the public, stakeholders and designers over a number of days to draw up viable proposals, while the Activating Ideas fund will support participation and empowerment initiatives in disadvantaged areas.

Minister for Local Government Kevin Stewart said: ‘The quality of our places has an important influence on our lives. This Government is committed to empowering communities and involving them in the planning process.  We have already seen really good examples of this in the few years since the charrettes programme has been running. In Maybole the Community Association and Community Council sourced additional funding to modernise and improve access to the Town Hall gardens. And in Girvan there is a successful plan for a new swimming facility which is due to open in 2017 following the closure of the local pool.

‘Local communities have a wealth of knowledge about their local area. Bringing communities together with design expertise will enable ideas and proposals to be developed to deliver positive change. This initiative provides a way of enabling people across Scotland to have their say on the long- term future of their community.’

View the press release and read more….

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New civic funding for England – ‘Great Places’ now open: till October & January

A new £15 million grants scheme, Great Places, has been launched by the Arts Council England (ACE) to help civic organisations work together to help communities; with a deadline for Expressions of Interest of 6 October 2016 or full applications is 12 January 2017.

Arts Council England writes:

A £15 million scheme to help put culture at the heart of successful communities has been unveiled by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council. 

The Great Place Scheme – one of the flagship measures from the Government’s recently-published Culture White Paper – will pilot new approaches that enable cultural, community and civic organisations to work more closely together.

The aim of the scheme is that the considerable investment in culture made by organisations like Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England has maximum positive impact on jobs, economic performance, educational attainment, community cohesion and health and wellbeing; and to persuade civic organisations and local businesses to invest in and put culture at the heart of their thinking.

Using funds raised by the National Lottery, the scheme will be piloted in 12 locations across England, and is likely to include everything from a city-wide scheme to a group of rural or coastal local authority areas.  Funding comes from HLF and the Arts Council, each of which will contribute £7.5 million for projects lasting up to three years.  There will also be complementary support from other organisations where relevant, such as Historic England through its Heritage Action Zone initiative.

Grants of between £500,000 and £1.5 million will fund a range of activities in the pilot areas. For example:

  • new ways to include arts, culture and heritage in the provision of local education or health services;
  • research into the contribution made by arts, culture and heritage to local economies;
  • funding for people working in arts, culture and heritage to build networks and increase their skills;
  • exploring and piloting new ways of financing cultural organisations;
  • encouraging the use of existing powers that allow communities to support their local culture, such as the Community Right to Bid or listing local landmarks as Assets of Community Value; and
  • development of local strategies that turn conversations and creation of networks into action to maximise the community benefit that local arts, culture and heritage can deliver.

Applications must come from partnerships, which are likely to include: arts and heritage organisations; community/voluntary groups; social enterprises; businesses; local authorities; parish councils; local economic partnerships; and other public sector organisations.  Single organisations cannot apply.

Read more…. and visit the Great Places Scheme website

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SAVE loses fight for Lime Street

The Court of Appeal has rejected the SAVE Britain’s Heritage application to prevent demolition works and planning permission going ahead in Lime Street, Liverpool in development that it describes as ‘an arch piece of civic vandalism’.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage writes:

SAVE Britain’s Heritage laments the hurried destruction of a fine piece of early cinema architecture, one of the grandest frontages of its kind to survive in England. In the annals of architectural history, this demolition is an arch piece of civic vandalism.

The imminent demolition works following the Court of Appeal decision are in our view a pre-emptive strike designed to prevent any further challenge.

The flanking historic terrace had a varied character typical of many English towns and cities, with lively commercial frontages and Georgian buildings dating back to 1780 which almost anywhere else in England would be retained. A slice of history is being completely truncated leaving two bookends with a wholly unsympathetic replacement.

These buildings on Lime Street in the buffer zone of the World Heritage Site are seen by everybody on their way to and from the station.  Liverpool continues to be at risk of losing its World Heritage status – and UNESCO has flagged concern about other large scale, high rise development in the buffer zone. That makes major demolition and development on the street a subject of national and international concern, and SAVE makes no apology for our involvement.

SAVE sought a constructive, swift solution to the Futurist and the Lime Street buildings from the start.  We invited the Council to engage in official mediation back in October last year. Unfortunately the Council refused that official mediation offer.

As a small organisation with very limited funds we do not take decisions to go to court lightly. This case has national and international significance, given Liverpool’s World Heritage status, and in a city with such a rich architectural heritage we were determined to make sure that the decision making process about such an important gateway site was robustly scrutinised. We pressed ahead with the Court of Appeal on the strength our own legal advice, and the indication from the Court that our case ‘had a very real chance of success’.

In granting us permission to appeal in May 2016, Judge Lord Justice Lindblom said ‘I accept that the appeal has a real prospect of success, and in any event that the matters raised on the interpretation and application of the guidance in paragraph 18A-036 of the Planning Practice Guidance are important enough to afford a compelling reason for the appeal to be heard’.

The basis of our challenge was the consultation notification process to the World Heritage Committee of a major demolition and re-development scheme in the buffer zone.  Saving the 1912 Futurist frontage was a central plank of our campaign. It is arguably the most architecturally significant facade in that block and there was considerable public support to save it.

SAVE was seeking a revised proposal which amongst other things would allow the group of frontages along Lime Street between the two magnificent pubs to be retained and restored alongside new development. Various on-line polls since last year showed that there is an overwhelming public desire to see these frontages retained.

We were supported in our campaign by Merseyside Civic Society, the Cinema Theatres Association and the Victorian Society, as well as over 4,000 people who signed a petition calling for the buildings to be saved. We were also supported by Professor John Belchem, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University, Paula Ridley CBE, former chairman of Civic Voice and former chair of the V&A Museum, British screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce, writer of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and Liverpool born former Sex in the City star Kim Cattrall.

We argued throughout that the façade of the Futurist could be saved and demolition was not necessary.  We paid for our own structural report to investigate the possibility of retaining the façade carried out by leading conservation engineer Edward Morton. It showed how the façade needed only a minimal amount of stabilisation to make it safe without requiring expensive road closures. The Council ignored this advice and shut Lime Street to traffic for weeks.

In the end, far from being in a poor structural condition, an expert independent engineer‘s report, jointly funded by SAVE and the Council, found the façade of the former cinema on Lime Street to be structurally stable and the road was reopened immediately.  There is no reason why the façade of this grand building could not have been incorporated into the new development.

In our view the proposals on offer at Lime Street are monolithic, repetitive, and oversized. The existing buildings on the front site have been left to rot unnecessarily – but with maintenance and repair the frontages could be brought back to use as and provide a revitalised, appropriate setting to the World Heritage site and the listed Victorian pubs at either end of the street.  We showed through our alternative scheme how this could happen. We commissioned an architect’s scheme to show how hotel, student accommodation and shops – as proposed by the developers wishing to clear the site – could work on the site.  SAVE has done this many times before with success, as illustrated in our recently published book ‘Big Saves’.

We continue to believe the site has ample scope for new buildings at the rear without destroying the varied historic frontage, which includes the Futurist, Liverpool’s oldest cinema. With goodwill, a better solution could have been achieved, which successfully balanced both the respect for Liverpool’s world renowned heritage and the need for new development.

We salute the Council’s efforts to revitalise many of the historic buildings in Liverpool – and we have given Liverpool credit for this throughout our Lime Street campaign. We note Joe Anderson draws attention to particular buildings that have been saved and brought back into viable use: the Royal Insurance Building and Stanley Dock. SAVE welcomes this – these buildings were highlighted by SAVE back in 2009 as significant buildings under threat in our survey of Liverpool: ‘Triumph, Disaster and Decay’. Liverpool City Council knows well through experience that heritage-led regeneration can bring jobs, a boost to the local economy as well as maintaining and enhancing local character.

SAVE has had a long and positive history of involvement in Liverpool’s heritage stretching back 40 years. We have campaigned to save and reuse landmarks that were once under threat, such as the Albert Dock, St Francis Xavier’s church, the Lyceum, and more recently the Littlewoods Building, Granby and the Welsh Streets. We have invested in buying, renovating and reoccupying the last inhabited house in Madryn Street, and produced four publications on the city’s splendid architectural heritage.

In 2009 we staged an exhibition at the RIBA Gallery showcasing the city, and will continue to support Liverpool’s buildings at risk, working with Liverpool’s City Council where possible, but challenging them robustly where necessary. 

Read the nnews release

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Cardiff Coal Exchange conversion starts but permission still only for change of use

Work has started at the Cardiff Coal Exchange following Cardiff Council’s, grant of planning permission for change of use, but a full planning application has yet to be submitted showing the details for the £35m+ venture, and as yet there are no permissions for other works.

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Pokémon Go players at risk on building sites

An investigation by Building magazine has found 50+ instances of players of the trendy online Pokémon Go game trespassing onto construction sites as Developers and contractors are warning of the perils of Pokémon Go players trespassing on construction sites, putting themselves in danger in their attempts to ‘catch ‘em all’.

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Research on Local Plans: 60% not up to date

The social housing publication ‘Inside Housing’ has published a research article on development plans, noting that six in ten do not currently have an up to date local plan.

Read more….

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Owner of Eastbourne pier criticised over ‘vivid’ new look

The new owner of Eastbourne Pier has been ordered to halt work after giving the Grade 2 listed structure a ‘vivid’ new look.

ITV reports on complaints about Sheikh Abid Gulzar’s decision to install gold-painted domes on the Victorian pier – which has been done without planning permission while, speaking to ITV News Meridian, Sheikh Abid Gulzar said the colour scheme ‘worked well’ and was popular with the public.

Read more…

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£1 for a Victorian Power Station in Kirkcaldy

A building at risk in Kirkcaldy is being advertised for sale at £1, provided that the purchaser has a track record of appropriate developments.

The Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland writes:

Victoria Road Power Station, a classically detailed former electricity generating station constructed with stone from Grange Quarry in nearby Burntisland, is now being marketed for sale through agents Graham & Sibbald (16 Wemyssfield, Kirkcaldy 01592 266211) as a development opportunity.

Offers are invited at a nominal price of £1 but interested parties must prove they can undertake and complete a scheme of development that is acceptable to Historic Environment Scotland and Fife Council. Interested parties will be required to demonstrate they have a successful track record of developing site which encompass Listed buildings and that the necessary funds are in place. Further information on the requirements of the sale, and contact details for interested parties, is available on the marketing particulars.

Read more….

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IHBC Director to open STBF’s Edinburgh Fringe-linked traditional buildings Festival:

STBF_logoedinburgh viewIHBC Director Seán O’Reilly is to open The Fifth Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival at Acheson House, Edinburgh on Tuesday 23 August, a 5-day training and profile-raising event led by the The Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF) that sits within Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe programme.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘This is a substantial body of events and demonstrations that do all they can to draw attention to the huge resource our traditional buildings represent, and the skills and resources needed to look after them in the most sustainable fashion’.

‘Tied to the globally recognised Edinburgh Fringe, they also highlight Scotland’s and the UK’s leading role in underpinning the care, conservation and repair of our existing building stock.’

As the mainstay of our future built environment, looking after our traditional, or ‘pre-1919’ buildings, is the best investment we can make in delivering a sustainable future for us all.  The UK continues to represent the highest standards in developing simple and cost-effective strategies to secure that future.’ 

The opening’ will take place at Acheson House courtyard 10:00hrs Tuesday 23 August.

The Scottish Traditional Building Forum is made up of a network of local traditional building forums with representatives across the supply chain. The forums have local representation who work together to raise the profile of specific issues relating to traditional buildings and building practices and to address these. 

Richard Groom,  Inspector at the Traditional Buildings Health Check Pilot scheme, based in Stirling, writes:

‘The fifth Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival is to be opened at Acheson House, 5 Bakehouse Close, 146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD by Sean O’Reilly, Director of The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) at 10am on Tuesday the 23rd August.

Highly skilled and experienced artisans, professionals and craftspeople give up their time to pass on some of their knowledge and demonstrate some of the skills and materials required to repair and maintain the traditional buildings that make Edinburgh a UNESCO World heritage Site. These buildings and structures (made of indigenous, local, natural materials) must be maintained sympathetically and harmoniously to ensure the people of, and visitors to, Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland continue to enjoy this rich architectural heritage.  The festival is supported by HES, SFGB, NFRC, BEFS, EWHT, CITB, Edinburgh College and ADS.’

Find out more about Acheson House

Information on all of the events can be found on the STBF website events page 

For the STBF see http://stbf.org.uk

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CIOB call for evidence: Housing ‘skills, materials and new technology’

To help inform its work-stream on ‘skills, materials and new technology’ workstream in National Housing Taskforce, a sectoral and political coalition, the CIOB is launching a call for evidence to gather views, data and substantiation. To close at 17:00 on Friday 9 September 2016.

CIOB writes:

The National Housing Taskforce is a sectoral and political coalition convened by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning. It was established to develop clear, workable proposals for both Government and industry to address the UK’s chronic shortage of housing.

The National Housing Taskforce is operating across 12 distinct areas of work, covering everything from planning reform to housing associations, and construction skills to mortgage finance…

The CIOB is leading on the skills, materials and new technology work-stream, which is charged with addressing the main issues in the construction labour market, including availability, productivity and diversity. Additionally, it will look at materials and new technology, primarily off-site manufacture and modern methods of construction (MMC), including how they link to skills issues. Ultimately, the work-stream will develop ideas for action for both government and industry, aimed at ensuring we have the capacity to deliver the homes we need.

To help inform the work-stream, the CIOB is launching a call for evidence to gather views, data and substantiation. This will remain open for 6 weeks, closing at 17:00 on Friday 9 September 2016.

We would urge industry, government, professionals and other interested stakeholders to take part in this important piece of work. If you are interested in giving your views, please download the document below and send your response to policy@ciob.org.uk

Please do not feel obliged to answer all questions; partial submissions focusing on a particular topic will be welcomed. Please direct any queries to David Hawkes, CIOB Policy Manager (dhawkes@ciob.org.uk).

More information can be found here

See more …

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National Parks to extend by size of Isle of Wight

Moorland general imageThe Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park officially extended, adding ‘an area bigger than the Isle of Wight’.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs writes:

Two of our most iconic National Parks – the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District – have extended their boundaries for the first time in a bid to protect our precious countryside and boost rural tourism, Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom has announced.

From the historic Sizergh Castle and postcard village of Orton to the breath-taking Lyth Valley, the extensions will see nearly 200 square miles – an area bigger than the Isle of Wight – protected for generations to come.

Over 20 million people already visit the rugged Dales and majestic Lakes each year. Extending these unique spaces will create the largest stretch of almost continuous National Park in England and attract thousands more people to the region – adding to over £1.8 billion a year already generated by visitors to these Parks.

The extension also supports the Government’s long-term plan for the environment, a manifesto commitment currently being developed with local authorities, communities and environmental groups across the country.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: ‘The Dales and Lake District are part of our nation’s proud identity – immortalised by W. H. Auden and Wordsworth, they are home to some of our country’s most beautiful and rugged landscapes.  Today’s extension will virtually join up these precious natural assets, supporting the local economy, creating jobs and securing the area’s reputation as one of our country’s most attractive tourist destinations for generations to come.’

National Parks contribute £4 billion to our economy each year – from Wensleydale Cheese to Herdwick lamb they are also home to over one third of England’s protected food names.

With tourism responsible for 13% of rural employment and 10% of rural businesses, today’s extension will not only attract more people to the region, but could potentially create hundreds more jobs and boost local economies.

Andrew Sells, Chairman of Natural England, the Government’s statutory adviser on landscape with responsibilities for designating and amending boundaries of National Parks, added: ‘This is a momentous day for the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks, as well as for the wider family of protected landscapes. The additional areas which now form part of each National Park are very special places that deserve all the care and attention designation will bring.  We all very much look forward to the benefits these extensions will bring to local businesses, the wider community and all those who visit these cherished landscapes.

The Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks have extended their boundaries by 24% and 3% respectively. The extensions cover around 188 square miles.  The decision to extend the Parks was announced last October.  According to STEAM 2015 (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model), there are 17.32 million visitors to the Lake District National Park and 9.30 million visitors to the Yorkshire Dales National Park wider area.  According to STEAM 2015, visitors spend over £1.8 billion in Lakes and Dales a year (the economic impact of visitors and tourism businesses was £1.2 billion in the Lake District National Park and £605 million in the Yorkshire Dales National Park wider area in 2015.)

Read more….

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