Carlton Tavern update

The ‘Local Government Lawyer’ and the ‘Planner’ have reported on the news that a final injunction has been granted to Westminster Council which stops and more demolition works to the site of the former Carlton Tavern. 

View the Local Government Lawyer article ‘Council obtains final injunction over demolition of historic pub’

View the Planner article‘Final injunction granted in respect of Maida Vale pub’ at

The West End Extra previously reported on the work of the campaign group ‘Friends of Carlton Tavern’ who are seeking the rebuilding of the pub

IHBC NewsBlogs on the Carlton Tavern

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Vote for your heritage site of the year: till 31 Jan!

The 2016 Countryfile Awards are open until 31 January 2016- you have until then to vote for your favourite from a shortlist of five finalists for heritage site of the year. 

The finalists are:

  • Dunluce Castle, County Antrim
  • Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire
  • Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Wrexham
  • Hadrian’s Wall
  • Stokesay Castle, Shropshire 

View more information, the other categories and how to vote

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Cow controversy: Nottingham and beyond!

The Nottingham Post has reported on the case of a restaurant which is seeking to retain an illuminated cow sculpture on its roof, retrospective planning permission is sought for its retention.

It is not the first time that cows have caused controversy in planning- a life sized cow sculpture once sited at an Edinburgh restaurant in a listed building was refused permission for retention, and a ‘mock funeral’ was held for the loss of the sculpture.

View the Nottingham Post article

View the Edinburgh Evening News cow article (February 2015)

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IHBC’s new website, for starters, changers and explorers: Experience the IHBC’s 2015 ‘Conservation Course Connection Day’

CCCD_webThe IHBC has just launched the first website resource to document its annual ‘Conservation Course Connection Day’ programme, featuring the third such day in 2015, which includes films, downloads and other resources and links to help guide early career and other interests seeking a better understanding of historic and built environment conservation, so offering alternative and accessible new routes into understanding what conservation is and how it works! 

IHBC’s interim Education Committee Chair, Henry Russell, who is featured in some of the recordings, said: ‘The IHBC’s Course Connections Day experience provides an excellent forum for conservation courses to interact with the IHBC. The dialogue works both ways: conservation students learn about working in conservation and how the IHBC can help their careers, and the IHBC gathers valuable insights from students about how to improve its career support.’ 

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly, who viewers will see led the day along with other staff from the IHBC’s National Office, said: ‘This new website offers a whole new suite of accessible resources and, hopefully, inspiration, for anyone exploring how to develop their jobs, careers and roles in built and historic environment conservation practice.’

‘Whether you are a career ‘starter’ or ‘changer’ – and moving into conservation practice – or someone just exploring what it’s all about, this is a very different but still hugely accessible way to join in the experience of our Conservation Course Connection Day experience’.

‘We’ve got film presentations, downloadable papers, features from students, web links and much more for you to get a sense of the day.’

‘And you can also see just what the IHBC can offer to anyone interested in heritage conservation practice learning and practice, as well as find out more about the huge diversity of the heritage world and some its many players.’ 

Linked IHBC resources and support include:

The 2016 Annual School and other IHBC Schools 

The IHBC’s annual Gus Astley Student Award for taught coursework

Find out more about the day, and download explanatory and other relevant material from the website

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IHBC Marsh Awards reminder: Celebrate the early learners and retired members you know with a nomination by 31 March… and maybe also a free School place in Worcester in June!

MarshAwardFrontBrdIHBC members and networks are reminded that they can commend and celebrate some of the most deserving heritage practitioners – those starting their career as well as retired volunteers – by nominating them for one of the IHBC’s Marsh Awards, and maybe also help them secure a free place at the Annual School in Worcester where they can receive their certificate and £500 cash award….

Download the flyer

View previous NewsBlogs on our Marsh Award schemes

Find out about the 2016 Annual School and other IHBC Schools

Find out about IHBC’s annual Gus Astley Student Award for taught coursework

View more information on the Marsh Awards

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DIY Cold War nuclear bunker listed

A homemade cold war bunker has been granted grade II listed status due to its historical significance. 

Historic England writes:
A DIY nuclear bunker built at the height of Cold War fear has received Grade II listing. A DIY nuclear bunker built at the height of Cold War fear has received Grade II listing from Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch. The shelter, constructed in 1982 in the owner’s back garden, is one of the few surviving reminders of the impact the Cold War threat had on the public.

Noel Barrett used mainly second-hand materials such as reinforced concrete, steel and brick to create the one-storey bunker, which was designed to protect him and his family in the event of nuclear fall-out.  Construction took almost six months of weekend work to complete, and even included domestic comforts such as a spa bath and carpeting. While domestic shelters were commercially available during the Cold War, very few were actually built.

Experts say the building is historically important as it shows the nervousness that people felt during the Cold War, especially in Norfolk which was home to numerous airfields. The decision to list was made based on the nuclear shelter’s rarity, design, and historic interest.

Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: This unique building is a clear reminder of the fear and anxiety that was present throughout the country during the Cold War. Though never used, it’s a part of history that should be conserved for generations to come and this Grade II listing will help do that.

Tony Calladine, Listing Team Leader at Historic England, said: This is a rare example of a private nuclear shelter as very few are known to survive. It vividly illustrates public anxiety during a period of heightened tension towards the end of the Cold War and therefore fully merits being Grade II listed.

Noel Barrett, the bunker’s owner said: At the time I really felt that war was a real possibility and I spent months building this shelter to make sure that my family was protected. I am so proud that something I created will be recognised with a listing so people will remember what life during the Cold War was like.

View the press release

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NTS changes

New proposals for the operation of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) have been announced, ‘Advancing conservation as a cause’.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) writes:
The National Trust for Scotland has today announced bold proposals to transform the way it cares for Scotland’s natural, built and cultural heritage.  The announcement follows a review of the 85-year old charity led by the Board of Trustees, Chairman Sir Moir Lockhead and Chief Executive Simon Skinner.

The Trust proposes to re-shape itself around a number of pivotal priorities over the next three to four years:

  • Advancing conservation as a cause that displays the benefits and widens the appeal of heritage to many more people in Scotland;
  • Significant levels of new investment in key properties in order to deliver world-class visitor experiences in terms of facilities, interpretation, enjoyment and engagement;
  • Attracting more visitors and providing opportunities to increase income to fund investment in conservation;
  • Focusing accountability and decision-making at property level, closer to members and local communities;
  • Reducing running costs by 10%.

In order to free up the skills and resources needed to turn the plans into reality, the Trust proposes a thorough re-configuration. This starts at the top with the Trust’s leadership and with layers of management being simplified.

Specialist staff across a range of conservation and professional disciplines would be teamed up with regional groupings of heritage sites to provide what would be in effect advisory services to properties. These experts would be based out in the field, instead of at the Trust’s HQ.

Whilst there is an expected reduction in the Trust’s total number of staff, staffing levels at properties would be unaffected.

Changes to ways of working and investment in modernised administrative systems and simplified processes would deliver estimated operational savings of circa 10% per annum which could be redirected to conserving heritage properties, improving visitor experiences and priority projects.

The entire programme of change would be self-funding and at the end of three years would lead to a more sustainable model. The aim would be to bring in an extra £8-10 million per annum of additional investment income for the charity thanks to these efficiency changes, more paying visitors, increased numbers of members and growing donations.

The Trust’s Chairman, Sir Moir Lockhead said: ‘This is an exciting new chapter in our 85-year history, providing new opportunities.

‘Hard work has turned around the Trust’s fortunes in the last few years, but we are now ready to move up to the next level to ensure we fulfil our mission of conservation in ways that are more relevant to today’s Scotland. The National Trust for Scotland is overflowing with fantastic stories of Scotland’s past, people, places and passions. We want to share these with the many, not the few, attracting new visitors, supporters, advocates and fans.   We are a conservation charity, and our commitment to that fundamental cause is unwavering. Yet our role is rich and varied – we are educators, entertainers and enthusiasts. These proposals have the potential to transform the Trust and help us establish heritage as a cause that communities all over the country can embrace, now and for years to come.’

Since joining the Trust in June 2015, Chief Executive Simon Skinner has made it clear that setting and delivering on priorities is key to the Trust’s future success. He said: ‘We have decided that for the next few years we will concentrate resources on a number of priority properties – each of which will have specific projects and initiatives designed to drive up visitor numbers. Our Trustees have judged that upfront investment in these properties would give the greatest returns in terms of increased visitor numbers, income, improved visitor experiences and conservation outcomes as quickly as possible.

‘Speed is of the essence here – we have got to act now to make sure that our places and the stories they tell remain compelling, relevant and engaging. Competition and visitor expectations in the heritage sector have never been higher. The Trust simply has to raise its game to challenge on both of these fronts.’

The priority properties will be confirmed in due course by NTS Trustees.

The proposals announced today are designed to reshape the charity’s operations around all of its 129 heritage properties, which include national treasures like St Kilda in the Western Isles, Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire and Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen.

Mr Skinner added: ‘I’ve felt strongly that there needed to be a rebalance of activity within the Trust, giving much more control and influence directly to our properties. After all, it’s because of those special places that the charity exists, that it gets the support of over 330,000 members and attracts millions of visitors every year, and they are at the heart of our proposals.  In many ways our revolution is based on evolution.  We have learned from previous successes that integrated teams deliver the best results and that we should not be afraid to apply innovative thinking to the way we run our properties and present them to the public.  And when we have delivered on these initial priorities, this will give us the experience and means to focus on other properties and look towards acquiring more in the longer term, perhaps leading to better representation of the 20th century, a period we have barely touched upon so far.  Our proposals are designed to unleash our property teams’ innovative and entrepreneurial talents, which along with our partnerships with communities, volunteers and members, will ensure that our heritage inspires and excites new generations.’

More information can be found at www.nts.org.uk/transform

View the press release

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Regulations functions to be returned to Rotherham Council

The planning and building regulations functions, as well as more key services, are to be returned to Rotherham Council from government appointed commissioners following improvements, although more work is still required.

DCLG writes:
Communities Secretary Greg Clark today (21 January 2016) announced plans to return responsibility for the running of a limited number of services to Rotherham council – but warned that significant further improvements are needed before full powers are restored.

It follows the latest report from government-appointed commissioners to the council, and is in line with their recommendations . The functions, include housing, leisure services, education and financial services, were found by the commissioners to be operating at an adequate standard, and have sufficiently strong leadership in place to be transferred back to local democratic control.

But while he welcomed the progress made to date, Mr Clark warned that control over the remaining functions, including children’s services and licencing, would be retained by the commissioners while significant challenges remain.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: Louise Casey’s report into Rotherham council made shocking reading – we must do everything we can to prevent those failings ever being repeated.  In the last 11 months, Rotherham has made improvements and so I have proposed to transfer control over some functions back from the commissioners to democratically-elected councillors.  But it’s clear there are still significant challenges to overcome before the council can fully regain the public’s confidence and trust, and so it is right that Sir Derek Myers and his team remain in place.

In February last year, the government appointed 5 commissioners to exercise all executive functions, and some key non-executive functions, at Rotherham council.  It followed publication of Louise Casey’s report into the council’s failings, in which she identified widespread failings in governance and service delivery.  These failings contributed significantly to the child sexual exploitation outlined in an earlier report by Professor Alexis Jay.

The full list of services to be returned to council control are:

  • education and schools; education for 14 to 19 years in all settings; school admissions and appeal system; youth services
  • public health
  • leisure services; events in parks and green spaces
  • customer and cultural services, libraries, arts, customer services and welfare programmes
  • housing
  • planning and transportation policy; highways maintenance
  • the council’s area assembly system and neighbourhood working; responsibilities under the Equalities Act
  • building regulation, drainage, car parking; business regulation and enforcement (not including licensing); emergency planning
  • financial services, including revenues and benefits (not including audit), ICT; legal and democratic services; corporate communications; corporate policy; procurement
  • policy arising from Sheffield City Region

The council would also take over budget control in these areas, as well as budget planning.

In his latest report the Lead Commissioner identified these functions as operating to an adequate standard, having sufficiently strong senior officers in place and having suitably strong leadership from councillors to be transferred back to the council.

Lead Commissioner Sir Derek Myers said: We are very pleased that the Secretary of State has carefully considered our proposals and at this stage is minded to agree with the commissioners that the time is right to return some limited powers to locally-elected members.  While we clearly acknowledge that there is further work to do in some areas if we are to rebuild trust and confidence in the way services are managed and delivered, we would see the restoration of at least some powers as a significant step in the right direction. We await the Secretary of State’s final decision.

View the press release

View the letter

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World’s First Operational Radar Station receives HLF and HE funding

Bawdsey Radar station has received HLF and HE funding to assist with conservation works at the world’s first operational radar station.

Bawdsey Radar writes:
Bawdsey Radar has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.4m as part of a £1.8m project to conserve the Transmitter Block building on Bawdsey Manor Estate in Suffolk. The Transmitter Block was built in 1938 and was a key building at RAF Bawdsey, the world’s first operational radar station.  The major site construction work will start in September 2016 and an exciting new exhibition will open in September 2017 allowing all visitors to explore and find out about this pioneering radar site.

The building has become a focal point for the local community on the Deben Peninsula. Christine Block, Bawdsey Radar Trustee and a Member at Suffolk Coastal District Council has commented,

‘We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this funding. The Transmitter Block has always been really well supported by local people. It represents such a key moment in our recent history that the community is really excited to feel that the building is going to survive and tell its’ unique story.’

As well as plans for conserving the fabric of the building, Bawdsey Radar will be working to develop ways, physical and virtual, in which more people can visit the site and understand the importance of the radar heritage that the Transmitter Block represents.  New displays within the Transmitter Block will tell the story of radar and its significance in WW2.  Radar helped win the war by playing a vital part in the Battle of Britain in 1940 and it is estimated the technology helped shorten the war by two years.  An important part of the project will be providing opportunities for learning about radar’s fascinating social and scientific history, and about how the early work at Bawdsey laid the foundation for our current age of electronics leading to inventions such as GPS, accurate weather forecasting, speed safety cameras and even the microwave oven!.

Mary Wain, Chair of Bawdsey Radar Trust is excited about the award  ‘This is wonderful news.  Now Bawdsey Radar can really concentrate on telling the story of radar and Bawdsey’s role in it.   The condition of the Transmitter Block had been reaching the point where it would no longer have been possible to open it to the public but now with the HLF and Historic England awards , its full steam ahead’

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: ‘The East of England played a vital role during the Second World War, particularly in the field of aviation. Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund has been able to invest in this transformational project that will ensure many more people in the region and beyond are able to explore this pivotal story from one of our nation’s most important periods in its history.’

In addition Bawdsey Radar is fortunate to have been offered a grant of £196,320 by Historic England to help with the repair of this building at risk, as described by John Etté Principal Adviser, Heritage at Risk. East of England.  ‘Grade II* Bawdsey Transmitter Block played a vital part in the development of radar technology during the Second World War, which also had a huge impact on post-war electronics and defence systems. Our grant will help conserve and restore this very important building by removing it from Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register.  We have provided specialist support to help with the plans for a technically challenging conservation and restoration project.’

View the press release

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New town centre ‘Investment Zones’ report: ‘Property pooling’!

A new report into property condition and ownership in town centres by Bond Dickinson has been launched which suggests a Town Centre Investment Management approach, pooling property to help make it more attractive to investors and help in proper management.

Bond Dickinson writes:
A hard-hitting report has proposed a radical new model to get investment back into Britain’s high streets.

The Town Centre Investment Zones report, launched today by a group of property industry experts, demonstrates that asset management of the high street could unlock much-needed investment for local authorities and communities to transform their areas.

The report, carried out by Peter Brett Associates with Bond Dickinson and Citi Centric, suggests that Town Centre Investment Management (TCIM), which involves the pooling of a critical mass of property assets into an investment vehicle, will allow the assets to be managed and curated, rejuvenating the high street.

View the press release

View the full report

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ESRC: 201 factors influencing vitality and viability of High Streets

New research has concluded that increased internet shopping is definitely not the only factor affecting the life of High Streets, with a first of its kind study revealing 201 factors seen to be influencing their continued vitality and viability. 

The ESRC writes:
Seasonal high street footfall figures fell yet again in 2015. But it’s not the internet that is killing the high street; instead, blame poor local decision-making by councils, retailers and the retail property industry, say researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University.  In the first research of its kind to attempt to identify and analyse all influences upon high street performance in one study, the High Street UK2020 project identified 201 individual factors that affect high street performance. The top five were:

  • Retailer representation – which retailers are represented on the high street, eg a mix of shop fronts and store sizes
  • Accessibility – can the centre be reached by a variety of transport modes, eg by bus, car, bike etc.?
  • Out-of-town development – are there nearby out-of-town retail parks or poorly linked edge-of-town developments?
  • Convenience – can people shop in the town centre without much effort?
  • Leadership – is there a clear and realistic plan for the centre?

‘About 38 per cent of a town’s performance can be explained by factors that it can influence locally,’ says researcher Simon Quin. ‘The problem is that in many locations retailers and the local authority are not collaborating and working together effectively to increase footfall, and this includes ignoring how important other town centre attractions are to people, such as events like carol services or Christmas markets.’

Despite the Black Friday hype, this year’s UK high street footfall fell nearly ten per cent from 2014, according to retail intelligence agency Springboard. On the other hand, retail park footfall rose by three per cent on Black Friday 2015, compared to 2014.  Retail parks are direct competitors to the high street, unlike internet retailing which is more of a complementary channel,’ says Professor Cathy Parker, the lead investigator for the High Street UK2020 research.  Much has been made of the ‘restorative power’ of innovations such as click-and-collect, but in general we find that retailing continues to shift online and out-of-town,’ Professor Parker continues. But her two-year study reveals that some of this shift is far from inevitable.

‘We identified a definitive list of the causes of town centre decline as well as concrete local actions that town councils, retailers and stakeholders could take to reverse high street decline,’ she explains.  Opening hours is top of the list of factors open to local influence. The High Street UK2020 project reveals that many medium and smaller sized towns are not adjusting to the changing needs of their local catchment area. People want their local centre to be convenient and open when they are likely to visit. But retailers and other stakeholders have not adapted, say researchers.  Libraries, shops and other services shut at 5.30pm, just before thousands of commuters may be arriving by rail, tram and bus services. ‘Obviously town centres can’t be open 24/7, but each locality should establish its own optimum opening times, based on analysis of its local catchment’, suggests Professor Parker. ‘This doesn’t automatically mean late-night opening or longer trading hours. In locations with a high percentage of retired residents, earlier opening times may drive more trade.’

The second key factor that stakeholders can influence is a town centre’s visual appearance and cleanliness, say researchers. ‘Again, local stakeholders can do a lot to present the high street in the most attractive way. This factor is the easiest one to influence locally, as anyone can collect litter and weed flower beds,’ Quin points out. Historically, this has been the role of the local authority, but with austerity cuts these basic interventions can be stripped right back. ‘Our research shows people’s attitudes to places are significantly affected by litter,’ says Professor Parker. ‘Towns can’t afford to look dirty, and this is why many locations have formed Business Improvement Districts to fund these operational imperatives,’ she adds.

Which retailers are represented and what they offer to consumers ranked third in the list of factors open to local improvement.  Many retailers are simply not making location decisions based upon a good understanding of the local catchment, say researchers. ‘We think too many national retail chains are abandoning locations just because other retailers are withdrawing from that particular high street,’ Quin points out. ‘And they won’t invest in locations that do not already have significant multiple-retailer-occupied floorspace.’  Morley, one of the project towns, had found it impossible to attract a national coffee shop retailer, despite having evidence of unfulfilled demand for such an operator.

‘Of course retailing is location, location, location, and retailers want to be where the major footfall is, in regional city centres and out-of-town retail parks. But we don’t believe this strategy will give the majority of retailers a resilient store portfolio,’ says Professor Parker. ‘They need to get better at fitting in and contributing to a strong and coherent overall town offer, recognising that people visit physical locations for a variety of reasons, including a good customer experience,’ she adds. That might mean in some more historic locations retailers should ensure their shop fronts complement the heritage, rather than undermine it with their standard (sometimes garish) use of signs and branding. For example, New River Retailer, another partner in the High Street UK2020 project, has commissioned designer Wayne Hemingway to undertake an art deco makeover of the Arndale shopping centre in Morecambe, to reflect the town’s seaside status.

In many cases, town centre decline can be halted, researchers conclude. ‘Effective local leadership, collaboration and clear visions and strategies work,’ Quin insists. ‘The towns that took part in the project demonstrated that if the right people work together on the right actions it can bring people back to the high street.’

View the press release

View a full list of the 201 factors

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Specification issues: New European regulations on chemical labelling

Members with an interest in specification will need to know about new labelling procedures for chemical products used in the EU; three new levels of labelling information have been introduced to ensure greater transparency in the use of chemicals.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) writes:
There is now a new, easier way to find out about the chemicals we use on a daily basis. The information is available in three layers of complexity: the simple infocard, the more detailed brief profile and the full source data.

The infocard gives a summary of the key information on a chemical substance in plain English. Users can read about the chemicals they are exposed to, where they are commonly used, whether they are hazardous and the precautions that they might need to take.

The brief profile goes deeper into the environmental, human health and physico-chemical properties of the chemical. It provides a user-friendly overview of the information collected for each substance under the different chemical regulations. This will be most useful for employers, workers, academics and regulators.

The third level, source data, includes the raw data submitted by companies to ECHA in REACH registration dossiers and notifications to the classification and labelling inventory.

ECHA’s Executive Director Geert Dancet says: ‘ECHA is moving from collecting information to making much better use of it for the general public as well as for regulators throughout the world. This launch is an important step towards safer chemicals by 2020 and a great contribution from the EU to the goals of the United Nations’ World Summit on Sustainable Development set in 2002.’

This three-level approach improves the transparency and traceability of data on chemicals. ECHA is not reducing the amount of information, adding or approving the collected data but making it much more accessible.  ECHA maintains one of the world’s largest regulatory databases on chemicals. It combines the information from REACH registration dossiers and classification and labelling notifications from industry with the information gathered by the EU Member States and regulators through substance evaluation and regulatory risk management (such as harmonised classification and labelling, authorisation and restriction).

The database offers, for example, information on

  • The classification and labelling of 120 000 chemicals;
  • The hazards and safe use of 14 000 chemicals registered under the REACH Regulation;
  • 2 million study summaries on properties and effects of chemicals;
  • 168 chemicals listed as being of very high concern; and
  • 64 chemicals for which their use has been restricted in the EU.

For biocides, ECHA publishes information on active substances, biocidal products as well as a list of active substance and product suppliers. Statistics on the export and import of hazardous substances that are regulated under the Prior Informed Consent Regulation (PIC) are also available on ECHA’s website.

View the press release 

Example label

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IHBC and HTF need your views on conservation practice ‘NOW’ … as closing 19 Feb!

IHBC_HTF_SurveyJan2016The IHBC and Historic Towns Forum seek your views on conservation practice today, and how it fits in with wider planning, place-making and management of the built environment throughout the UK, with a survey questionnaire to help capture thoughts, opinions and profiles from across the spectrum of conservation and heritage practitioners and interests, all with a closing date of Friday 19 February’.

David Kincaid, IHBC’s Policy Secretary and chair of its Policy Committee, said: ‘Do please take time to complete the survey, as it aims to establish current views about conservation in practice in the UK.’

‘With the NPPF and changes in national policy regarding heritage assets, significance and setting in England, and changes often of comparable scale across each of our National Branches, it is all the more important that your institute identifies the issues that matter in the ‘real’ world.’

‘Gathering this evidence this will help us respond to practitioners’ concerns, including with future training events, research notes and strategic career and CPD support as well as wider advocacy.  The survey also asks your views on area conservation and the role that heritage/conservation plays in creating place.’

Dave Chetwyn, Chair of the HTF and past Chair of IHBC, said: ‘The survey questionnaire has been customised to get feedback from practitioners that can be used to inform future guidance and resources, whether by individual organisations, in partnership or across the wider sector’.

‘The closing date for comments is Friday 19th February and the results of the survey will be published after this date.’

To give us your views please complete the survey

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IHBC Marsh Awards reminder: Celebrate the early learners and retired members you know with a nomination by 31 March… and maybe also a free School place in Worcester in June!

IHBC members and networks are reminded that they can commend and celebrate some of the most deserving heritage practitioners – those starting their career as well as retired volunteers – by nominating them for one of the IHBC’s Marsh Awards, and maybe also help them secure a free place at the Annual School in Worcester where they can receive their certificate and £500 cash award. 

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘These are new awards, as they are only in their first year.  But they are a great opportunity to celebrate someone you know who has gone the extra mile in learning – starting out on their heritage career – or in volunteering their time and skills as a retired IHBC member.’

‘Remember too that it couldn’t be easier to make a nomination – just a simple statement – and each award is marked by a certificate, and a free residential place at the IHBC’s renowned Annual School in June each year, worth about £500, as well as £500 cash award’.

Nominations for the awards must be made by March 31 annually.

Download the flyer

View previous NewsBlogs on our Marsh Award schemes

Find out about the 2016 Annual School and other IHBC Schools

Find out about IHBC’s annual Gus Astley Student Award for taught coursework

View more information on the Marsh Awards

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LGA: Unbuilt homes at record high – Skills the barrier as PP in place for 475,000+

More than 475,000 homes with planning permission are still waiting to be built, according to a study commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), which also notes that ‘Skills are the greatest barrier to building, not planning’.

The LGA writes:
The study, commissioned by the Local Government Association and carried out by industry experts Glenigan, shows this bumper backlog has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years.

In 2012/13, the total of unimplemented planning permissions was 381,390 and in 2013/14 it was 443,265.

The LGA said that the figures underline the need for councils to be able to invest in building more homes and also for the skills shortage affecting the construction industry to be addressed.

Council leaders also want powers to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point that the original planning permission expires.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, also said:

  • developers are taking longer to complete work on site. It now takes 32 months, on average, from sites receiving planning permission to building work being completed – 12 months longer than in 2007/8
  • the number of planning applications being granted planning permission in 2014/15 was 212,468 – this is up from 187,605 in 2007/08 and is higher than all previous years
  • councils still approve nine in every 10 applications
  • while the construction industry’s forecasted annual recruitment need is up 54 per cent from 2013, there are 10,000 fewer construction qualifications being awarded by colleges, apprenticeships and universities
  • there were 58 per cent fewer completed construction apprenticeships last year than in 2009.

Cllr Peter Box, LGA Housing spokesman, said: “These figures conclusively prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact the opposite is true, councils are approving almost half a million more houses than are being built, and this gap is increasing.  While private developers have a key role in solving our chronic housing shortage, they cannot build the 230,000 needed each year on their own. To tackle the new homes backlog and to get Britain building again, councils must have the power to invest in building new homes and to force developers to build homes more quickly.’

‘Skills are the greatest barrier to building, not planning.

‘If we are to see the homes desperately needed across the country built and jobs and apprenticeships created, councils must be given a leading role to tackle our growing construction skills shortage, which the industry says is one of the greatest barriers to building.

“Devolving careers advice, post-16 and adult skills budgets and powers to local areas would allow councils, schools, colleges and employers to work together to help unemployed residents and young people develop the vital skills to build.  New homes are badly-needed and councils want to get on with the job of building them. If we are to see a genuine end to our housing crisis we have to be given the powers to get on with it.”

The LGA commissioned Glenigan to undertake an analysis of the extent and scope of unimplemented residential planning permissions in England and Wales in financial years 2013/14 and 2014/15. The analysis undertaken updated work published by the LGA in 2013, and the findings have been combined to examine unimplemented planning permissions over the last eight financial years (2007/08 – 2014/15). The analysis uses data taken from Glenigan’s database of construction projects. This data is also used by other government departments, such as the Department for Communities and Local Government, to monitor planning permissions.

UK Local Gov article & press release

See IHBC NewsBlogs on skills’ shortage

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Post War Sculptures listed: including Gormley and Frink

41 sculptures across England have been listed today, including the first by Antony Gormley, and others by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Elisabeth Frink. 

English Heritage writes:
From an Antony Gormley masterpiece, his first to be listed, to three Barbara Hepworth sculptures, a Henry Moore outside the Houses of Parliament and pieces depicting a range of themes from the power of electricity to the women’s peace movement in Northern Ireland, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has today listed 41 post-war public sculptures across the country on the advice of Historic England.

These sculptures, most listed at Grade II and some Grade II*, were designed to bring our public spaces back to life after the Second World War as England began to repair its shattered towns and cities. This art was created for everyone, to humanise and enrich our streets, housing estates, work places, shopping centres, expanding universities and schools.

Among the new listings is Antony Gormley’s Untitled [Listening] in Camden, London. The first of his pieces to be listed, this was one of his first public sculpture commissions and marked the beginning of a career dedicated to creating monumental pieces of art for the public.

Three works by Barbara Hepworth have been listed. Listed at Grade II* is her Winged Figure – a landmark of London’s Oxford Street on the side of John Lewis – was designed, in her words, to make people feel ‘airborne in rain and sunlight’ and Single Form (Memorial) in London’s Battersea Park was her personal response to the death of a friend. Rosewall (Curved Reclining Form) in Chesterfield, Derbyshire named after a hill in Cornwall is now listed at Grade II.  Elsewhere, four of the newly listed works are in Harlow, known as The Sculpture Town. These include Wild Boar by Elisabeth Frink and a play sculpture of a bronze donkey by Willi Soukop, now worn to a shine from years of use, designed so that children could interact with and experience art.

Through national exhibitions such as the 1951 Festival of Britain, created to celebrate the best of what Britain had to offer, public sculpture became an emblem of renewal, optimism and progress. London County Council and ‘new towns’ such as Harlow in Hertfordshire led the way in patronage of public sculpture, commissioning works from some of Europe’s leading artists.  The 41 newly listed pieces capture the mood of post-war public feeling, depicting a range of themes from the celebration of industry in northern England such as mining and wool, to the importance of family, play and even a commemoration to children killed by the Blitz.  Some were unpopular at the time, being seen as too unsettling or too avant-garde and only now are they starting to get the appreciation they deserve. These sculptures form part of our irreplaceable national collection of public art now being recognised and protected by Historic England.

Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch said: ‘It is only right that these fantastic pieces are listed. Not only are they magnificent sculptures but they are also an important part of our history, capturing the mood of Britain after WWII.’

Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England said: ‘These sculptures were commissioned and created for everybody and have become a precious national collection of art which we can all share. They enrich our lives, bring art to everyone and deserve celebration. We have worked with the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, Tate, and the Twentieth Century Society throughout this project to ensure our most special public art is protected and continues to enhance our public spaces.’

Sadly, our artistic heritage is in danger of being taken for granted. Historic England has recently warned that some fine works of public art have been destroyed, sold, lost or stolen.  Their stories, and those of these newly listed sculptures, will be explored in Historic England’s forthcoming exhibition at Somerset House, ‘Out There: Our Post-War Public Art’ from 3 February to 10 April 2016. This exhibition will help people learn about this national collection and the stories behind it, so they will recognise the importance of these works.

View the press release

See IHBC NewsBlog below to find out how you can help track down England’s lost post-war public art

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