Reminder: IHBC sponsors Big Meet 3 at UCL: 24 Feb

Bigmeet3 image 3

The third meeting of the Place Alliance’s Big Meet, to be addressed by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, is supported by the IHBC, and will take place in on 24 February at University College London (UCL). 

The Place Alliance explains its objectives as it: ‘Brings together organisations and individuals who share a belief that the quality of the built environment – the places in which we live work and play – has a profound influence on people’s lives. We believe that through collaboration we can create and maintain better places. To this end, we share knowledge and support each other to demand and realize buildings, streets and spaces that enhance the quality of life for all.’

IHBC Education Secretary David McDonald said: ‘The IHBC is delighted to be able to play such a positive enabling role in this critical new initiative that has arisen out of the Farrell Review.’

‘As conservation is acknowledged by the Review as being central to the place management processes on which it focused, it is only right that, as IHBC is the UK’s lead conservation body for places, we should step forward with our support to help progress the kind supportive partnerships for which our heritage sector is especially well respected.’

For more details see IHBC NewsBlogs

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IHBC co-sponsors RSA’s ‘Festival of Ideas: Heritage’: March

The IHBC is delighted to co-sponsor, with BEFS and others, the forthcoming ‘Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts…’ (RSA) heritage session at its ‘Festival of Ideas’, to be held 20-21 March in Edinburgh, featuring debate and discussion with internationally acclaimed speakers as well as IHBC members.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘We are particularly pleased to support this event and help bring high profile speakers – including Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture from 2010 to 2014, and Piet Jaspaert for EUROPA NOSTRA – to generate quality debates around heritage topics among the widest audience.  Early booking is highly recommended!’

RSA Scotland Chairman Ann Packard said: ‘This session has been made possible by the much valued generosity of IHBC, BEFS and others, demonstrating high levels of purposeful collaboration within the sector.  Particular thanks must go to BEFS and IHBC for contributions towards speaker travel and overnight costs. We look forward very much to welcoming IHBC members and supporters to the Festival.’

The heritage session of the Festival of Ideas is organised by the RSA Fellows ‘Media, Creative Industries, Culture and Heritage’ (MCICH) Network, as part of a 36-hour Festival of Ideas in the St Stephen Centre, St Stephen’s Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Invited speakers include:

  • Francesco Bandarin – UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture from 2010 to 2014, and is now Professor of Urban Planning at the University Institute of Architecture of Venice. He was formerly Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the Secretary of the World Heritage Committee. He is trained as an Architect (Venice 1975) and Urban Planner (UC Berkeley 1977) and has pursued an academic career as Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Venice (IUAV) and a professional career as consultant for international organizations in the field of urban conservation and development. He was actively involved in the Venice Safeguarding Project and in the preparation of Rome for the year 2000 Jubilee. As Director of the World Heritage Centre he promoted the revision of the UNESCO recommendations on historic cities, and has contributed to development of the debate on the role of contemporary architecture in historic cities, on the management of their social and physical changes and on the role of communities in the conservation of historic values.
  • Piet Jaspaert (Brussels) on behalf of EUROPA NOSTRA: he has been a Board Member of Europa Nostra for six years.  A graduate in Political and Social Sciences (Ghent University 1972) and the Eisenhower Fellows (Philadelphia, USA, 1990), Piet started his career as a language professor in Brussels. After being the first lay spokesman for the Diocese of Antwerp for two years, he became the first Director of the Cultural Center of Hasselt, a position held for 14 years. In 1986, he joined the Kredietbank and, later, the KBC as Director of Communication & Marketing. The Flemish Government has called upon him to take on national tasks, such as the Presidency of (i) the Youth Council and (ii) the Advisory Board for Theatre and Tourism Vlaanderen. He returned to the heritage sector, taking responsibility for organisations such as VCM, Erfgoed Vlaanderen and, more recently, HERITA. In 1989 he was one of the three founders of Heritage Days in Flanders. On his retirement from KBC, he accepted the position as President 2003-2013 of JEP (Jury for Ethical Practices in Advertising). He became Vice-president of EASA – European Organisation for Self-regulation in the Advertising World (2009-2013). In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of (i) Concertgebouw Brugge, (ii) Cultureel Centrum Leuven, (iii) Festival van Vlaanderen Brussel (iv) La Petite Bande and (v) Kom op tegen kanker. In 1986, Her Majesty The Queen of The Netherlands appointed him Officer in The Order of Orange-Nassau for his commitment to the cultural cooperation between Belgium and The Netherlands. He was also appointed Commander in The Order of King Leopold

Other subjects being covered include’

  • the Future of Festivals Funding in Scotland
  • a presentation on the 20th on Creativity by Professor Pier Luigi Sacco (IULM, Milan) and on the 21st
  • Surveillance & Privacy
  • Land Use including shale gas and Devolution to Communities
  • Professor Jeffery will address ‘The General Election and the Union’.

The event takes place at Edinburgh’s St Stephen Centre, St Stephen’s Street, Stockbridge EH3 5AB

St Stephen’s Street, Stockbridge is easily accessed by Lothian bus routes 23, 24, 27, 29, 36 and 42.

For full information re registration and ticket purchase see the website

For the RSA see

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Would your practice benefit from a little IHBC ‘HESPR’ help?

If you run a heritage based business but are not taking the opportunity to be listed on the IHBC’s HESPR scheme, you may be missing out on the many benefits this brings, including regular bulletins of current tender opportunities in all areas of conservation-related practice, and sometimes running into the millions! 

IHBC’s HESPR (Historic Environment Service Providers Recognition) is a quality assurance and promotional service for businesses that work to conservation and service standards expected by the IHBC.   Practices recognised under the IHBC’s HESPR agree to observe the institute’s standards through maintaining a corporate link to the IHBC in the person of their Designated Service Adviser, a nominated Full Member of the IHBC, agreed by the IHBC.

Tasters of headline projects offered in the current update include:

  • Historic battlefield research (£8000-10,000)
  • Consultancy work relating to HLF funded community projects
  • Renovation of a Grade 2 listed former library (£100,000)
  • Interdisciplinary conference on Anglican church interiors (£8000-12,500)
  • Quantity surveying to the Mackintosh Restoration Project
  • A framework agreement to cover the supply of Architectural design, survey work and other advisory services at the British Museum (£700,000-1,250,000) 

If projects such as these – and a huge range of others – might be of interest to your practice or employment, take a closer look at HESPR and how to join. 

Benefits of HESPR listing include:

  • Searchable online service with hosted and managed web pages for each HESPR business, containing full contact details and links
  • Web links from IHBC’s Home Page, the starting point for IHBC’s 30000 page web resource with 1/4million hits per month
  • HESPR company listings published in IHBC’s Yearbook, circulation 5000+ (including planning authorities & other heritage regulators and leaders)
  • Free tender notification service (see archive )
  • One free ‘Jobs etc.’ advert, social networks & email package p.a. (worth up to £400)
  • Dedicated search facility for HESPR-related events on IHBC’s events calendar (email for details)
  • HESPR fliers circulated at select IHBC events, such as the IHBC’s Annual School, and IHBC-partnered events
  • HESPR promotion on IHBC networks, including social media 

NB: IHBC Full membership of a staff member is a pre-requisite of HESPR listing

Check out our members and services on offer at HESPR

See other benefits  & How to join HESPR

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IHBC’s Course Connection Day 2014: ‘What’s your story?’

A new video has been added to the IHBC’s You Tube channel, with students attending the IHBC’s Course Connections Day, held last November in Birmingham, talking about their background and courses. 

We asked those who attended to tell us how they got into historic buildings as a career choice, and what they were studying on their course.

The video reveals the huge diversity of career paths taken by conservation practitioners, current and future, as well as the passion felt for their work.

Many thanks to those who featured in the video.

View the video

More on the November 2014 Course Connection Day

IHBC learning opportunities

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Coventry Gateway project call in refused: IHBC summary

A proposal for a business park near Coventry Airport, previously approved by neighbouring Coventry City Council and Warwick District Council has been refused after call in by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who assessed that the overall proposal would ‘give rise to substantial Green Belt harm’ (para. 32 of decision notice).

IHBC members may also be interested to note that section 18 of the decision letter relates to heritage matters, with the assessment that theoverall degree of harm to the significance of Lunt Fort would be slight and certainly less than substantial’.   Landscape reports were developed assessing any potential impact on the heritage walk at Lunt fort (para 198), and the effects on nearby conservation areas assessed, with no objections from English Heritage received (para. 96).  The heritage assessment concluded that the development proposal did not directly affect any designated heritage asset (para. 266-280).

The letter summarises the decision made thus: ‘taking all of the benefits of the proposed development into account, both on an individual basis and cumulatively, the harm to the Green Belt has not been clearly outweighed, and very special circumstances do not exist to justify allowing the inappropriate development’ (para. 33).

Coventry and Warwickshire LEP writes:
Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: ‘We are extremely disappointed and perplexed that this decision has been made by the minister, and we wait to see what decision the developers plan to do in terms of continuing to take the plans forward.  The LEP has long-viewed Gateway as a nationally-significant employment site in Coventry and Warwickshire – with real potential of attracting major development from inward investors and expanding companies.

‘We believe the case is very strong to bring this development forward, and both local authorities directly involved also gave it the green light.  In fact, the case for development has been strengthened during that time by the positive take-up of other key employment sites meaning this development has even more significance.

‘Around 10,000 jobs could be created at Gateway which will allow us to continue to build a successful and vibrant economy – the whole reason for the existence of the LEP.  The CWLEP has backed the Gateway’s plans since we came into force in 2011 because we firmly believe this would have further strengthened Coventry and Warwickshire’s reputation as a driving economic force in the UK as the heartbeat of the technology, manufacturing and logistics sectors.’ 

Read the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP statement 

Download the decision letter 

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IHBC update: LGA + FMB on new LG procurement

IHBC members who deal with procurement for construction works will be interested in the newly launched Local Government Association (LGA) local government construction procurement strategy, which has been praised by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), who note that the changes should help small and medium enterprises compete more readily. 

Members may also be interested to note the figures wihin the report on the top 20 house builders by size, leading construction companies and businesses by turnover. 

The (LGA) writes:
Local Government Association’s (LGA) newly launched local government construction procurement strategy sets the framework for improving public procurement for small and micro firms, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The LGA launched the Construction Category Strategy earlier this month. It is intended to support a more focused approach to what is a key spending area for local government and a major source of employment across the country. The LGA hopes the strategy will highlight new developments and ideas which can help to support improved procurement practices, collaboration and strategic co-ordination of the local government’s annual spending on construction.

After commissioning a report into procurement, the LGA launched its National Procurement Strategy (NPS) in 2014. Construction was selected as a priority category as part of work underpinning the NPS. It identifies what is needed under four themes: maximising savings, supporting local economies, modernisation and demonstrating leadership.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said: ‘Local government wants to build long-term partnerships with suppliers who we believe can help us deliver significant local growth, increased skills and jobs. The Strategy is the first step in addressing the need for a strong collaboration between industry and local government to make sure that local people have the skills required to deliver these projects.  The strategy outlines a general ‘call to arms’ for local government so as to enable increased efficiencies through collaboration and partnering. Construction permeates virtually all other industries, is a major source of employment and is a foundation of a prosperous society.’

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: ‘With 41 per cent of construction SMEs failing to win nine out of 10 public sector contracts they bid for, the Local Government Association (LGA) focus on making procurement processes more SME-friendly is extremely welcome. The new Strategy, which is the first of its kind, is right to highlight how increasing the amount of construction work awarded to construction SMEs is key to maximising local economic growth. I urge all local authorities to analyse their own processes against the key objectives contained within the Strategy and ensure their own approach isn’t needlessly blocking small firms.’

Berry concluded: ‘When it comes to applying pro-SME procurement practices, some local authorities are better than others so the work the LGA does to provide an overarching set of principles is crucial. Relatively simple changes – such as always using PAS 91 as the basis for any construction pre-qualification questionnaires – can make a huge difference to reducing the bureaucratic burden on SMEs and encouraging more small firms to bid for public sector contracts.’

View the news article

Download the strategy 

IHBC newsblogs on procurement

IHBC newsblogs on construction

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Planning Portal applications up

The Planning Portal blog reports a 14.6% increase in planning applications submitted through the Planning Portal since the same time last year. 

View the Planning Portal Director’s Blog

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Could “Garden ‘Villages’” Solve the Housing Crisis?

Policy Exchange (an educational charity and think tank) has issued a report which calls for ‘garden villages’ to be built in each local authority area to solve issues with housing supply and demand. 

Policy Exchange writes:
Over one million new homes could be built over the next decade if each of the 353 councils in England built just one garden village of 3,000 new houses.

A new report by leading think tank Policy Exchange argues that a future government can overcome local opposition to development by devolving powers to set up new garden villages from Whitehall to councils. Under the proposal, locally led development corporations, set by councils, would be charged with master-planning, setting quality design standards for the construction, and allocating some of the plots to self builders and housing associations, for a new wave of garden villages.  As part of a quid-pro-quo, councils agreeing to build new garden villages sufficient to meet their housing need would be allowed to rule out having development around existing communities forced on them through appeal…

The report calls for a radical new approach based on amending the New Towns Act to create financially viable new garden villages:

  • Empower local authorities to use the New towns Act to designate sites for new small market towns and villages typically consisting of up to 5,000 homes as part of their Local Plans
  • Allow local authorities to pay fair compensation to homeowners and landowners affected by the new development at a flat rate of 150% of market value at the existing use
  • Ring-fence the subsequent land value uplift for the new community to provide for its infrastructure and amenities.
  • Make plots available to a range of competing providers, including self-build and smaller builders, responding to market demand
  • Rule out planning by appeal around existing towns and villages for local authorities making these allocations

Lord Matthew Taylor, author of the report said: ‘Over the next 20 years we need to build around 300,000 new homes every year to keep up with demand and address the existing backlog of housing need. The current planning system – based on tacking on homes to existing towns and villages – ramps up local opposition to new development and makes it politically challenging for councils to meet local housing need.  Our planning system also makes it predictable which land will eventually be released for development. The undersupply ratchets up the value of this land exponentially. As the land is acquired much of the financial gain are captured by the landowners and speculators, not the local community.  It is therefore vital that we turn the system on its head. Empowering councils to create new garden villages to meet local housing demand and capture all the land value uplift is critical if we are to win over the support of existing residents and build the homes we so desperately need.

View the press release

Download the report

IHBC newsblogs on housing

IHBC newsblogs on garden cities

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NI announcement on town centre investments

Public realm works in Limavady, and revitalisations projects at Banbridge and Gelngormley are in the news this week, with significant investment by the Department for Social Development Northern Ireland (DFSDNI). 

These include:

  • Limavady Main Street
  • Banbridge
  • Glengormley town centre

View the articles at:

IHBC newsblogs on regeneration

IHBC newsblogs on town centres

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Civic Voice calls for ‘Participation not consultation’

Civic Voice, the umbrella arm of local civic movements, has issued a new document ‘Collaborative Planning for All’ calling on those involved in the development process to make better use of community collaboration, with a ‘Participation not consultation’ approach using tools such a charrettes to bring better results for everyone. 

Civic Voice writes:
It is time to change the way things are done and to bring communities genuinely to the heart of planning and place-making. ‘Participation not Consultation’ is about bringing people in at an early stage to develop the proposals through collaborative planning processes, also known as Charrettes.

The Charrette approach involves community members working alongside local authorities and developers to co-create design-led, visual plans and strategies. It is an inspirational and energising activity where the results of collaboration are seen immediately, with the knowledge that an individual’s input actually matters. It also has the potential to greatly increase the speed of the formal planning and design process.’ (foreword, p3) 

Case studies from London, Wick, Scarborough and Surrey are featured, as well as examples of how charettes can be carried out and comments on how they have been useful for communities and professionals. 

Download the Collaborative Planning document

IHBC newsblogs on charrettes

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Dual refusal of wind turbines for Cambridgeshire’s skyline

A proposal for 6 turbines in Cambridgeshire has been refused with views to church spires being cited as one of the deciding factors, even with a revised proposal for 3 turbines also being proposed. 

Paragraph 39 of the decision letter states:
‘The Secretary of State concludes that although the deletion of turbines T2, T4 and T6 would reduce the adverse effect on the setting of the church spires and the villages, especially in Bythorn and to a lesser extent in the other 3 nearest historic villages, the reduction in harm has been overplayed by the Inspector. In particular, harm to key views of Bythorn and Keyston church spires would still remain albeit the 3 turbines would usually appear to one side of the spires. He acknowledges that the reduced number of turbines would be more respectful to the settings of historic villages, but he concludes that the harm would still be significantly adverse. ‘

View the EH Legal Director’s uploaded decision letter

IHBC newsblogs on turbines

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IHBC-sponsored Place Alliance Big Meet 3 – last bookings to hear Vaizey and Farrell


The third meeting of the Place Alliance’s Big Meet, sponsored by the IHBC and to be addressed by culture Minister Ed Vaizey, will take place in on 24 February at University College London.

IHBC Education Secretary David McDonald said: ‘The IHBC is delighted to be able to play such a positive enabling role in this critical new initiative that has arisen out of the Farrell Review.  As conservation is acknowledged by the Review as being central to the place management processes on which it focused, it is only right that, as IHBC is the UK’s lead conservation body for places, we should step forward with our support to help progress the kind supportive partnerships for which our heritage sector is especially well respected.’

The Place Alliance writes:

A new movement
Brings together organisations and individuals who share a belief that the quality of the built environment – the places in which we live work and play – has a profound influence on people’s lives. We believe that through collaboration we can create and maintain better places. To this end, we share knowledge and support each other to demand and realize buildings, streets and spaces that enhance the quality of life for all.

Our vision is:

  1. That place quality has a value that is recognised by all
  2. That the quality of buildings, streets, and spaces is always given a high priority by those who have the power to shape them
  3. That national and local government recognises the vital contribution of the quality of place to the economic, social and cultural life of the nation and to achieving environmental sustainability
  4. That the professionals responsible for making and managing places, work constructively together and with local communities to shape high quality local environments.

Place quality refers to:
The recognisable and desirable qualities that the most successful parts of our villages, towns and cities share. They are: friendly (open, cherished and characterful); fair (inclusive, healthy and low impact); flourishing (adaptable, dynamic and diverse); fun (vibrant, playful and stimulating); and free (safe, accessible and democratic) (see Place Matters).

The Place Alliance aims to:

  • Inspire and raise aspirations for places.
  • Support dialogue and collaboration to improve place quality
  • Build and share evidence, knowledge and resources
  • Influence policy, practice and behaviour to achieve better place quality
  • Be open and accessible to all interested individuals and organisations.

Download the details of BigMeet3

For more background see IHBC NewsBlogs

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Reminder: IHBC sponsors ‘Living Heritage': Oxford 19 Feb!

These seminars will address current and contentious topics within the historic built environment, fostering academic dialogue, professional practice, and providing an arena in which the public, private, civic and academic sectors can engage in heated and healthy debate about all aspects of the topic in hand. 

Tomorrow’s seminar:

  • 19 February Dave Chetwyn, Urban Vision Enterprise CIC, on Living Heritage – planning for the 21st century (kindly sponsored by the IHBC)

Further details….

IHBC NewsBlog on these seminars

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