IHBC NW Branch housing conference reminder – ‘Home is where the heart is…’: Liverpool, 6 October

NW2016The North West (NW) Branch of the IHBC 2016 Day Conference is entitled ‘Home is where the heart is: Meeting housing need in historic buildings and areas’, and will take place on 6 October at the Liverpool Medical Institution.

For details and to book see housing.IHBC.org.uk

For background see the IHBC Newsblog

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IHBC update: co-sponsoring DAC conference, ‘promoting membership and skills in a training partnership’

DAC WebsiteIHBC Members are reminded that the institute will join in as a sponsor of the 2016 Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) conference on 20-22 September in Leicester, and in support of the ongoing training programme with the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division of the Church of England, the IHBC will waive administration charges for new members that join as part of this programme.

IHBC Education Secretary Bridget Turnbull said: ‘We are delighted to be able to extend our partnership with the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division of the Church of England on this way, as the IHBC continues its support for the conservation skills of DAC staff.’ 

For more background see the IHBC NewsBlog

Find out about the DAC Conference

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Welcomes for new chief executive at Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced that the new chief executive is Alex Paterson.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) writes:

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is pleased to announce that Alex Paterson has taken up his new role of Chief Executive Officer as of Monday 12 September 2016.

Alex was previously Chief Executive at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). During his time there he oversaw the strategy for key national sectors, as well as business and community growth. Alex also worked to improve the region’s infrastructure, increase international trade performance, and promote business innovation.

Historic Environment Scotland was formed late in 2015 by bringing together Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) to create a new public body to care for, protect and promote Scotland’s historic environment.  Alex will be building on the hard work of HES staff, including the launch of the organisation’s first Corporate Plan and Business Plan. He will report to the HES Board, and is responsible for carrying out their vision and strategy. Alex is also the designated Accountable Officer to the Scottish Government.

Read more about the Chief Executive and his role and view the press release.

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‘Future of LG Archaeology Services’ report out: HER funding, training support; archives development, and much more

The long-awaited 2014 report on ‘The Future of Local Government ((LG) Archaeology Services Report’, to which IHBC contributed, has been published by the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (APPAG), and includes recommendations to ‘develop a voluntary developer contribution which would establish a ring-fenced national fund which will help financially secure local authority HER services’.

The authors write:

1.1. This report examines the current situation facing local authority archaeology and wider historic environment services in England, particularly with reference to the role they play in fulfilling the requirements of the planning system. The report was commissioned by the Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, and has been undertaken by John Howell MP and by Lord Redesdale with the support of The Archaeology Forum…

1.6.  The report sets out recommendations with the following aims:

  • To highlight the importance of local government archaeology services and to remind failing services of their obligations under the planning system;
  • To better support local authorities in rationalising current service models in pursuit of optimum availability and sustainability of skills and expertise and the achievement of economic efficiency;
  • To outline a mutually beneficial financial arrangement with the purpose of improving the effectiveness and reliability of archaeological services for developers and ease the financial vulnerability of services for local authorities;
  • To improve and strengthen sector standards and monitoring and provide reasoning in support of minimum service levels to be instituted and maintained;
  • To rationalise local authority advice charges, taking account of varying circumstances;
  • To ensure English Heritage/Historic England provide effective regional leadership to local authorities
  • To rationalise the system for retention of archaeological material…

The report recommends that:

  1. An advisory group should be convened at the earliest opportunity to develop a voluntary developer contribution which would establish a ring-fenced national fund which will help financially secure local authority HER services.
  2. A system of approved standards, produced and monitored by the sector, should be applied to local authorities in receipt of this funding with the aim of ensuring the development process runs effectively.
  • Research should be conducted into current local authority charging structures with the aim of ensuring a level of readability, consistency, and value for money.
  1. English Heritage is strongly advised to consider the creation of a role at Executive Board level within Historic England to provide regional leadership over local planning historic environment functions.
  2. English Heritage should also be authorised to prioritise the facilitation of service sharing agreements between local authorities.
  3. Programmes for training and skill retention such as apprenticeships and bursaries should be devised by local government in partnership with the sector to address current unsustainable employment and training models.
  • Training in archaeology and conservation should be devised for planners and local councillors, run by a coordination of heritage sector bodies to address deficits in cross-sectoral understanding.
  • English Heritage should engage further with the Arts Council England and the Museum Sector to pursue long-term strategies for the assessment of archaeological archives.

For background see the IHBC NewsBlog

Read the report

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WG listing decision to be challenged by WCBC

The recent listing of Groves school by the Welsh Government (WG) is to be challenged by Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC), on the grounds that ‘the building does not meet the criteria for listing’.

Wrexham County Borough Council writes:

The decision to list the former Groves school building is to be legally challenged, following a decision by Wrexham Council’s Executive Board this morning.  In making their decision members balanced the risks and cost of a challenge against the ongoing expense of maintaining and using the building taking account of both its listed status and the restrictive covenants affecting its use.

The building was listed in August by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates AM. A listing which the Council strongly resisted. The Council had decided to demolish the building and build one or two primary schools on the site to be funded from the 21st Century Schools Programme post – 2019.

The report outlined the events leading up to the Secretary’s decision and the options available to the Council. Due to the confidential legal advice presented in the report, press and public were excluded from the meeting.  There were a number of relevant issues which needed to be addressed by the Board in reaching its decision such as the likelihood of success of a legal challenge and the cost. The ongoing cost to the Council of maintaining the building – whether in its existing state or as part of a refurbishment/redevelopment opportunity – and the impact on the Council’s future plans for investment in education on this site and the overall education budget.

The confidential legal advice led members to believe the Secretary’s decision was contrary to all the expert evidence, which concluded that the building does not meet the criteria for listing and in the absence of documentary or expert evidence in support of listing the decision was clearly challengeable.

The minimum ongoing cost of maintaining the building is estimated to be £14,500 per annum plus one off repairs following vandalism. £113,609 has already been spent removing asbestos and if 24/7 security is required this will be in excess of £100,000 per annum to come from the Council’s education budget. Recently repairs to the roof cost £4,756 following a break in. To make the building watertight and repair key features would cost a further £262,000. The site continues to encounter issues with anti-social behaviour and homeless people sleeping rough, which means the police and the Council’s security team are called out to it on a regular basis. The Council’s own mobile control carries out at least five visits a day to the site and significant quantities of rubbish and drug paraphernalia have to be removed from the site.

It is forecasted that increase in the overall population by 2028 will result in pressure on existing school places. Members previously agreed that the Groves site be used for one possibly two new primary schools and to demolish the existing building. Funding for the building is likely to come from the 21st Century Schools Programme post 2019. This would mean the building would be unused for a further four years with the council continuing to incur costs for repairs, maintenance and security.

The report to members also considered using the building as a 21st century primary school, which would need to be designed to enable learners in the Foundation Phase to access the outdoors. This would require doors to be provided where there are currently windows, proper external shading to be installed and appropriate fencing to separate the learning areas and contain and protect pupils. This may not be compatible with the current building.  Modern buildings are also designed to ensure good air and light quality in classrooms and adequate solar shading. Again, the building itself may not be suitable for a conversion that would meet these standards. There is no guarantee that partners involved in developing a replacement school would be happy with the proposals to provide a compromise to the design of a modern primary school.

Cllr Mark Pritchard, Leader of Wrexham Council, said: ‘Executive Board has agreed to challenge the decision based on all the advice contained in the report. It is strongly felt that the Cabinet Secretary’s decision is flawed and does not take into account Welsh Government advice and that of experts involved in the process. We do not believe it has been listed in the national interest or in accordance with the guidance used to make such decisions. I would like to thank everyone concerned with bringing this report to Executive Board today.’

The meeting was held in Part II with press and public excluded from attending because the report presented contained information which falls within the description of exempt information contained in Paragraph 16 of part 4 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 in that it contains information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.

View the press release

See background

IHBC NewsBlogs on Wrexham

Information on the history of Grove Park School

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New NI Historic Environment Fund: Closing 10 October

A new historic environment fund has been launched for Northern Ireland (NI), covering Heritage Repair; Heritage Regeneration; Heritage Revival and Heritage Research, with a closing date for first applications of 10 October.

Communities Minister Paul Givan, MLA today launched the Historic Environment Fund in the historic surroundings of Campbell College.  This fund seeks to support and encourage a wide range of actions and initiatives to conserve and realise the potential of our historic environment. Following a public consultation the framework for the Fund has been organised under four themes: Heritage Repair; Heritage Regeneration; Heritage Revival and Heritage Research.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister said: ‘I am delighted to be at Campbell College in this fine listed building to launch what is an important initiative for my Department and to encourage organisations to apply for funding before the closing date of 10 October 2016.  The Historic Environment Fund (HEF) draws together a number of funding streams which are available to support our heritage. This ranges from listed building repairs; to support for communities to investigate their archaeology; enables councils to encourage maintenance activities; schools to help them visit Monuments in State Care; and, communities to regenerate historic monuments in their local area.’

The Minister continued: ‘My intention is that this support will help stimulate action right across the historic environment. Our heritage is a finite resource, as well as a source of great pride with huge potential to contribute to our economy through tourism and the construction industry. It is vital that we work together across all possible routes to ensure that this legacy is protected, valued and highlighted to achieve its maximum potential.’

View the press release

View more information about the fund

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North East England- devolution talks flounder

Several media reports have highlighted the recent developments within government of the North East of England, with BBC news reporting that ‘Devolution for the north-east of England is off the table’. 

BBC News: Sajid Javid ends North East devolution deal

Chronicle Live – ‘Thanks, but no thanks’: How devolution for the North East was ended in 155 words

Planning Portal news

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SAVE: Port owners bulldoze historic buildings on Grimsby Docks

SAVE Britain’s Heritage writes that Associated British Ports (ABP), the owners of a fine set of Victorian and Edwardian buildings on Grimsby Docks, has begun major demolition today, despite pleas from five national heritage organisations to save and re-use them.

SAVE writes:

The six 19th and early 20th century buildings, collectively called the Cosalt Buildings, make up the principal street in an small area of historic streets known as the Kasbah, stated by Historic England, the government’s national heritage advisers, to be unique in the world.

There are nine listed buildings close to the site in the Kasbah – including the magnificent 1900 Grimsby Ice Factory, the earliest remaining building of its type in Britain.  The area – all owned by ABP – has suffered from neglect for many years, and the Ice Factory, which is grade II * listed, is boarded up and has gaping holes in the roof.

Henrietta Billings, Director, SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: ‘This demolition shows a callous disregard for Grimsby’s world famous fishing heritage. There are examples across the country like Liverpool Docks and Gloucester Docks that show that heritage can be a prime driver for new development and regeneration – and for the local economy. The flattening of the Cosalt Buildings is a major opportunity lost.’

Marcus Binney, Executive President, SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: ‘This is a shocking example of a wasteful and needless demolition to frustrate the pleas of bodies such as SAVE, Historic England and the World Monuments Fund that the Colsalt Buildings are an important feature of Grimsby’s historic docks. It is all the more disgraceful as Associated British Ports has allowed no opportunity for a proper public record of the interiors to be made.’

Our campaign to save the buildings is supported by World Monuments Fund, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, The Victorian Society, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Ancient Monuments Society, The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and the Grimsby Traditional Fish Smokers Group. A petition to save the buildings gathered over 750 signatures and the campaign has been published in the national and local press.

SAVE maintains that the demolition of these lively, varied and well-detailed buildings will harm the setting and the context of the listed buildings on the other side of Fish Dock Road. This radical change is one which national policy states should be taken into account when considering planning applications.

The few remaining groups of historic buildings known as the Kasbah and the grade II* listed Ice Factory constitute a unique and irreplaceable testimony to Grimsby’s position over two centuries as the greatest fishing port in the world. Remarkably a small number of historic buildings in the Kasbah remain in constant use, notably as traditional family owned smokeries which supply leading hotels and restaurants.

Read more….

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HLF releases State of Public Parks 2016 report

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) State of Public Parks 2016 report argues that action is needed to avert a crisis after two decades of investment in UK public parks.

The organisation’s second annual UK Public Parks report finds 50% of park managers reporting parks and green spaces have been sold off or transferred to other groups in recent years, with this figure set to increase to 59% over the next three years.

According to the report, 50% of local authorities have also transferred outdoor sports facilities to community groups over the last three years, and 22.5% of their funding now comes from external sources.

Nearly all the park managers surveyed (92%) also reported revenue budget cuts.

The chairman of the Local Government Association’s culture, tourism and sport board, Cllr Ian Stephens, said: ‘As this report recognises, councils are taking innovative approaches to using park spaces, such as providing pop-up spaces for local businesses and giving communities a say in how their parks are run.

‘However, over the previous parliament central government funding for councils was reduced by 40% in real terms. Despite this difficult backdrop, councils are doing everything they can to provide the best possible park services,’ added Cllr Stephens.

HLF writes:

This second State of the UK Public Parks report shows that there is a growing deficit between the rising use of parks and the declining resources that are available to manage them. Based on four surveys of park managers, independent park trusts, park friends and user groups, and the general public, the findings show that while parks are highly valued by the public and usage is increasing, park maintenance budgets and staffing levels are being cut.

Without urgent action the continuing downward trend in the condition of many of our most treasured parks and green spaces is set to continue.  Whilst new ways of working and generating income are showing potential, more support, shared learning and collaboration is needed to support those that manage public parks.  Therefore, this research calls for collaborative action to deliver new ways of funding and managing public parks to avert a crisis.

Read more….

Read the article at UK Local Gov

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Opportunity- Design for UK memorial to the Holocaust

The UK Government has released an international call for entries from appropriately qualified and experienced architects and designers for a UK memorial to the Holocaust, with a closing date of 17 October 2016.

Government writes:

The UK government is today (14 September 2016) inviting designers, architects and artists from all over the world to enter an international design competition for a striking new national memorial commemorating the Holocaust.

This new national landmark, to be situated in the heart of our democracy, next to Parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens, London, will demonstrate the UK’s commitment to honouring the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, providing a place for quiet reflection as well as large-scale national commemorations.

Following the recommendation of the cross-party UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, competition entrants are also being invited to incorporate designs for a possible accompanying below-ground learning centre. This world-class centre would give visitors an immediate opportunity to learn more, contextualising the memorial, grounding it in historical fact as events fade from living memory, and inspiring future generations to respect and embrace difference in the fight against hatred and prejudice.

The learning centre would also contain recordings of testimony from British Holocaust survivors and camp liberators, including unheard stories recently recorded as part of the government’s drive to ensure survivors who have never spoken out before have their memories captured for posterity. The centre would signpost visitors to the many further Holocaust educational resources that are available across the United Kingdom.

View the press release and further details of the opportunity.

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IHBC NW Branch free community workshop on ‘Building Conservation’: 15/09, Isle of Man

Isle of Man courtesy of Fiona NewtonThe Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) will be visiting the Isle of Man in September to offer a free workshop for individuals and community groups.

IHBC’s Vice Chair Kathy Davies, who will be attending and helping lead the workshop, said: ‘I am delighted to be able to help out in this programme of training on offer through the IHBC’s North West Branch.  Conservation in the Isle of Man faces many of the same issues we are all familiar with: limited resources and capacity; variable access to skills and training, and getting the right support and knowledge to interested communities and individuals.’

‘It is very good news that our local North West (NW) Branch is able to help local communities develop and extend their role in Manx heritage care and management with this free training.  I have a special interest in community training in my national role with the IHBC, so it is a particular privilege for me to be able to help out on this initiative.’

IHBC’s NW Branch writes:

The workshop is based on the IHBC’s recent conference which focused on ‘People Power’. Accepting that local communities are integral to the conservation and regeneration of historic places, the conference looked at ways in which community groups have become more involved in the conservation process.’

‘The workshop will explore the various ways in which community groups can better engage with planning authorities, giving them greater input into the conservation plans that are developed for their areas. It includes a talk from the IHBC and focused workshop sessions and is open to everyone with an interest in planning and conservation.’

Book your free ticket

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IHBC members and non members – have you booked your place yet?

character_building_cover_sml‘Character Building’ – Putting heritage at the heart of planning and placemaking. Our historic environment provides not only a rich architectural and cultural resource, but also a wealth of models of sustainable and healthy living. However, within the planning system, heritage appears to be increasingly confined to an assessment of significance rather than a catalyst for positive change.

IHBC’s London branch looks at this topic from a nationwide perspective with issues ranging from estate management to public realm improvements and will include advice on the contribution that archaeology can make to placemaking.

Find out more about the conference and the award winning venue at

Royal College of Physicians

Conference Venue: Royal College of Physicians



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3,500 churches abandon fossil fuel energy sources

More than 3,500 churches have switched their electricity from fossil fuels to renewable energy, or have registered to do so, according to research published by Christian charities,  and nearly 700 churches from across denominations have so far individually signed up through the bigchurchswitch.org.uk website promoted by Christian Aid and Tearfund.

Around 2,000 of the switches come from 16 Catholic dioceses which are running entirely on renewable energy, the figures from Christian Aid, Tearfund and Cafod say.

The Big Church Switch writes:

The Big Church Switch calls on churches and individual Christians of all denominations to switch their energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable energy. By using clean, renewable energy the Church can demonstrate its commitment to care for our neighbours and for the earth – our common home.

CivilSociety writes:

The majority of the Salvation Army’s UK sites and a third of Britain’s Quaker Meeting Houses have also made the switch.

In addition, nearly 700 churches from across denominations have so far individually signed up through the bigchurchswitch.org.uk website promoted by Christian Aid and Tearfund.  The charities have announced that in light of the success of the initiative, it will now be extended into the new year.

Another 340 congregations have also signed up to a broader scheme called ‘Eco-Church’, committing to a range of environmental improvements. And 21 Catholic parishes have received a ‘Live Simply’ award, in recognition of commitments to sustainability and solidarity with people in poverty. 


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HLF ‘Kick the Dust’: ‘transform how heritage organisations engage with young people’

Named by young people, Kick the Dust is a £10million grants programme from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for ambitious youth-focused projects that transform how heritage organisations engage with young people, and where applicants can apply for a grant from £500,000 to £1m as part of a consortium, which should include heritage and youth organisations.

Application guidance will be published on 23 September 2016, and HLF will hold information workshops across the UK in late September and October.

Kick the Dust is informed by research commissioned in 2015 looking at the new landscape for youth work and the needs of the heritage sector to develop more opportunities for young people. In the consultation for the grants programme heritage organisations said that they needed more time and resource to test, develop and embed high quality, ongoing practice. They wanted longer, larger grants, of up to 5 years, to change how they engage young people. Many felt they needed to build their expertise and confidence in working with young people. They recognised the benefits of working with youth organisations, and wanted to establish stronger relationships with the youth sector to draw in expertise.

The research also found significant need for greater support with evaluation, and a new, more rigorous approach to how evidence is collected and used to inform HLF practice and wider knowledge.

Find out about the workshops and read more….

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Parliament says: Health should be a ‘material consideration’ in planning

MPs have urged ministers to stipulate that health should be a material consideration in both planning and licensing law, as the Commons Health Committee has recommended in its report on public health, warning of widening health inequalities now councils have taken over more responsibility in this area at a time of cuts to budgets and front-line services.

The all-party committee considered evidence it would be ‘beneficial’ if health and well-being was treated as material consideration in planning applications.

Issues from the report include:

  • it was still harder than it should be to influence planning applications for the benefit of health (para 139)
  • the current planning process continues to be a major impediment (para 140)

The report concludes: ‘We urge the Government to be bold, and make good on its commitment to health in all policies, by enshrining health as a material consideration in planning and licensing law’ (para 140).

Ros Jervis director of public health at Wolverhampton City Council told MPs: It could make a real impact rather than us trying to fudge it with some of the other four licencing objectives that we have. They do not have to be onerous, there are some quick mini-health impact assessments, but they need to be systematic, so not ad hoc just when you can persuade them to be undertaken’.

View the report and read more at Planning Portal

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SG’s Community Right to Buy update

The Scottish Government (SG) has announced that more than 500,000 acres in Scotland are now in community ownership, following new powers for communities under land reform. 

The Scottish Government writes:

More communities across Scotland are benefitting from the ownership of land.

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham has announced that more than 500,000 acres in Scotland are now in community ownership – breaking the half way mark on the million acres target set in 2013.

Ms Cunningham said:  ‘Land is one of our most valuable assets and land reform has already delivered significant benefits to rural and increasingly urban communities across Scotland.  Land ownership by communities has been going from strength to strength and there are some impressive examples of community buyouts throughout the country especially in the islands, including the Pairc Trust in South East Lewis that has helped us reach the half way mark in our ambition to ensure that one million acres in Scotland are in the hands of communities and working to the benefit of all.’

‘The 28,000 acres in the Pairc Estate community buy out, for example, will help to reverse a century of population decline by providing additional local jobs, more affordable good housing, and better community facilities to improve the quality of life for all local residents.’

‘We remain ambitious, and today’s milestone marks only the half-way point on our journey to ensuring that one million acres moves into community hands – but it is an encouraging and important step forward in our land reform journey.’

‘It is also only part of our wider and on-going programme of reform across Scotland. A land rights and responsibilities statement and a Scottish Land Commission will follow. We will also support landowners to better engage with communities and will shortly begin to implement the act’s agricultural holdings provisions, helping tenant farmers.’

‘Together these steps will begin to ensure that land in Scotland delivers benefit for everyone.’

View the press release

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