Fo Guang Shan Temple, GII*, first ‘temple’ for PoW Lottery support

A Grade II* listed building is the first temple to receive Grants for Places of Worship (PoW) scheme, the Taiwanese Fo Guang Shan temple is just off Oxford Street in London and will be using development funding to work towards major building repairs.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) writes:

Only a few minutes away from the bustle of Oxford Street is London’s Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Temple, a sanctuary from the stresses of everyday urban life.

The well-established Taiwanese temple, which also runs the charity International Buddhist Progress Society UK, currently attracts 18,000 visitors per year.

London FGS Temple is a Grade II* listed building and active centre of Buddhist worship and teaching. However, building damage has placed the temple at risk and restoration is crucial to get it back in working order again.  Luckily, after a successful application to HLF, London FGS Temple became the first ever temple to receive HLF support under the Grants for Places of Worship scheme. Development funding of £33,500 has recently been awarded to help London FGS Temple progress plans to apply for the full earmarked funding of £209,300.

The HLF grant will support restoration work to the eastern roofs, replacing damaged bricks and rebuilding the high level masonry of the temple, originally designed by Gothic architect William Butterfield in 1868.  Alongside the restoration work, there will be a programme of community activities and events including archive research into the history of the building and a photography exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fo Guang Monastery.

Applying the Fo Guang proverb of ‘offer confidence, offer joy, offer hope, and offer convenience’, the London FGS Temple will also be hosting singing, dancing and meditation classes and educational tours available to the public.  Venerable Miao Shiang, Head of London Fo Guang Shan Temple, said: ‘It was fantastic news when we heard that our grant application had been approved by HLF. This news was received very well by everyone at the Temple. Our board of directors and trustees thank the HLF for the grant and are extremely grateful for the support. We look forward to working with HLF on this project.’

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: ‘The Fo Guang Shan temple has been a part of London’s community for over 24 years and provides a rich programme of events and activities for all to enjoy. The temple is currently in need of urgent repair work and thanks to National Lottery players, this crucial restoration project will now be able to preserve the heritage of the temple, keeping it up and running and accessible for all.’

Read more….

Read more about the Temple

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Gravestones knocked over by vandals

The Stone Specialist reports that more gravestones have been pushed over by vandals as around 50 stones were knocked over in Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s cemetery at North Sheen in London on Saturday night, 13-14 August.

In a statement on 15 August the Council said:

On Saturday night in North Sheen Cemetery there was an act of vandalism where a number of memorials were pushed over and in doing so a small number were cracked / damaged.

The police are currently investigating the incident and have had a scenes of crime officer at site taking finger prints from the memorials affected.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has arranged for a memorial mason to attend site this week with a view to re-setting those memorials pushed over and repair those that were damaged.

Cemetery staff are currently recording the number of those memorials that are affected and will be writing to the grave owners advising them of the vandalism and that steps are being taken to remedy the vandalism.

Read the article at The Stone Specialist

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Youth Justice Board activities- carpentry skills in heritage setting and the NHS

The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales has noted the work of Surrey’s Youth Support Service in helping young people to gain carpentry skills, which involves works at the historic Brooklands Museum in Weybridge and handcrafted items to benefit patients in the NHS.

The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales writes:

Lord McNally, Chair of the Youth Justice Board (YJB), visits Surrey’s Youth Support Service to find out how carpentry helps steer young people away from crime. 

At The Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Surrey’s Youth Support Service is using a ground-breaking approach to help turn around the lives of troubled young people in the county.  The service works closely with a number of local organisations to deliver restorative justice schemes which are having a positive effect on the community.

The approach, used in cases of lower-level offending by under-18s, has reduced reoffending rates by 18 per cent.  One scheme involves young people taking part in carpentry workshops, often with no prior experience of carpentry. They make a range of wooden items for the benefit of the community or victims of crime and gain job skills in the process.

The Youth Support Service works with projects including where young people are using their new-found carpentry skills to make activity equipment to improve dexterity for patients who have had a stroke or suffer from dementia. They also make handcrafted wooden memory boxes for parents whose babies have died. These are given to the neonatal intensive care unit where they are made available for bereaved families. 

At the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge young people are making wooden crowd barriers for the motoring and aviation museum similar to those used at the site’s motor racing circuit in its heyday.

Lord McNally. Chair of the Youth Justice Board, said:  Surrey’s innovative approach to youth offending is clearly helping to divert young people away from crime.  The Youth Justice Board, working through local youth offending teams and services, continues to play an important role in promoting restorative justice across England and Wales; and I am delighted to see how Surrey’s work has enabled many young offenders to make amends to the victims of their crime while doing something positive for their community.

Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement, said:  Our approach is helping to steer young people away from crime while keeping costs down for the taxpayer and our team was very pleased to welcome the chair and chief executive of the Youth Justice Board to Surrey to show them first-hand the ground-breaking work we are doing.

View the press release

More information on Brooklands Museum

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RTPI: NIC should help unlock large housing development

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has raised concerns over the proposed method of assessing infrastructure requirements in a response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) consultation.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) writes:

The ability to unlock large housing developments should be made an explicit criterion in assessing infrastructure, the RTPI said in its response to a National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) consultation.

This is an opportunity for the government to use infrastructure to help solve the housing crisis, bridge the north-south divide in England and tackle climate change. Our approach would ensure infrastructure acts as a catalyst to unlock large scale housing, jobs and economic growth.

The RTPI is concerned that a method of assessing infrastructure ‘need’, based only on existing patterns of demand would risk continued investment in London and the South East at the expense of other areas.

In its response to the NIC’s consultation on how infrastructure should be assessed and prioritised, the Institute proposes a ‘feedback loop’ methodology whereby the Commission’s proposals for national infrastructure would invite matching plans from local authorities and developers for major housing growth. These plans would then be fed back into the original needs assessment, allowing the Commission to prioritise and fund infrastructure that would unlock housing.

James Harris, RTPI Policy and Networks Manager, said: ‘This is an opportunity for the government to use infrastructure to help solve the housing crisis, bridge the north-south divide in England and tackle climate change. Our approach would ensure infrastructure acts as a catalyst to unlock large scale housing, jobs and economic growth.’

In its response the RTPI also called on the NIC to:

  • Assess the impact of different infrastructure plans on the shape and density of the built environment.
  • Factor in existing plans and aspirations for local and regional infrastructure, from local government, Local Enterprise Partnerships and private companies, by appointing commissioners with explicit responsibilities for the nations and English regions.
  • Examine options for tackling the serious levels of water stress expected in Greater London, the South East and the East of England given their high household growth projections.
  • Look at the potential benefits of devolved flood defence spending to combined authorities, and planning for flood risk over an 80-100 year time period.
  • Consider the impacts of infrastructure proposals on natural resources and the environment, through an ‘ecosystems approach’ in the assessment.

The UK Government tasked the NIC with identifying the country’s long-term infrastructure needs, creating a strategic infrastructure vision over a 30-year period and making recommendations for how identified infrastructure needs should be met through the publication of a National Infrastructure Assessment.  The NIC’s remit covers the UK; although Scotland and Wales have similar national commissions. The RTPI has called for the NIC to work in conjunction with these bodies to ensure a joined-up approach.

View the press release

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Planning Portal PD interactive tools to be relaunched

The helpful interactive tools published by Planning Portal in England which explain permitted development (PD) rights are to be relaunched, using new technology and fully responsive interfaces which mean they work on all devices.

Planning Portal writes:

The current Planning Portal interactive houses have been with us since 2008.  They were ahead of their time, but the technology they use is now out of date and critically, can’t be viewed on mobile devices.  Given that mobile and tablet usage continues to grow and the rest of our site is completely responsive to different screen sizes, it’s time to upgrade them.

So for the last few months we’ve been working on new improved interactive guides, using technology which can be seen on all types of device, including all Apple and Android ones, and is responsive to different screen sizes.  We’ve taken the opportunity to improve the integration between the houses, the mini guides and the site content, making it easier for users to find what they want more easily.

We’ve also taken a fresh, modern approach to the design, using an illustrative style which research tells us makes it easier for users to relate to their own homes.

Much as we loved the old houses, we’re really excited about the new ones and hope you will be too.  They’ll be live next Wednesday, 31st August on the English site, but you can see a sneak preview of the new homepage below.

We’re moving house….interactive house in fact!

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HS2 Phase One ‘safeguarding’ directions updated

Additional properties and areas are to be covered by safeguarding regulations of the proposed HS2 route.

HS2 writes:

Safeguarding is an established part of the UK planning system and ensures that land identified for major infrastructure is protected from conflicting development.  The update follows a number of changes to the route that were agreed when the House of Commons Select Committee scrutinising the bill considered legislation to build phase one of HS2, between the west midlands and London. HS2 Ltd, the company designing and building Britain’s high speed railway, has contacted the residents that are directly affected by the revisions.

The improvements to the route, made public during the Committee process, will mean fewer properties are affected by HS2. These changes include a 1.6 mile extension to the deep-bored tunnel under the Chilterns – preserving almost 30 acres of woodland while reducing the scale and duration of local construction activity.

The new directions also cover the realignment of the route near Lichfield to allow the railway to pass under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire Line rather than run over them on viaducts and make two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal. There are a range of other smaller changes to the route. As well as protecting the land required for HS2, safeguarding directions trigger statutory compensation arrangements for affected homeowners.

This means that owner-occupiers within safeguarding who qualify can apply to the Government to purchase their property and cover some additional costs. In addition to this statutory compensation, a range of discretionary property schemes are in place that go well beyond what is required by law, these include measures aimed at people affected by HS2 who live outside the safeguarded area.

View the press release

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IHBC Context’s Hong Kong articles now on Conservation Wiki: and let us know if we can add yours!

IHBC wikiThe IHBC’s ongoing programme to extend awareness of our valued membership journal, Context, through our Conservation Wiki public service, is continuing with the posting of recent articles on Hong Kong’s Renaissance Architecture and its Shophouses.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘The IHBC is very focused on extending awareness of our work, and many will already know of our free trial membership for members of the Chartered Institute for Archaeology (CIfA).  Populating our Conservation Wiki with content from Context also adds substantially to our reach and profile in another critical constituency: the construction and development sector.’

‘So this week our Conservation Wiki features the recently added articles by Ho-Yin Lee and Lynne D Distefano on two distinct aspects of Hong Kong architecture –  its renaissance history and its ‘shophouses’.  Carrying our Context content on our Conservation Wiki platform ensures a truly global reach for the IHBC’s conservation work’.

[No 119 Lai Chi Kok Road, a third-generation shophouse]

No 119 Lai Chi Kok Road, a third-generation shophouse (Photo: Ho-Yin Lee)

‘And if you have already articles in Context with content that would work on Wiki, and would like us to extend their reach through our Conservation Wiki, just let me know at:’.

‘And don’t forget too that anyone can add their own specialist conservation knowledge and experience to IHBC’s Conservation Wiki: it is an open and public service, so simply log in and add your information’!

See the article on the renaissance history of Hong Kong and on ‘shophouses

See IHBC’s Conservation Wiki

For more on this issue of Context, No 145, see the press release

Read issue 145 and all others online now

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New IHBC-recognised subsidised CPD training: Leicester THI, includes lessons with the SPAB!

The IHBC is delighted to announce the launch of a new series of Townscape Heritage THI Skills flyerInitiative (THI) linked subsidised training, recognised by the IHBC for CPD purposes, on offer in Leicester, delivered by the Heritage Skills Centre from Lincoln Castle and with contributions from SPAB, which includes:

  • Introduction to traditional slate roofing
  • Introduction to lime pointing
  • Repair and maintenance of traditional windows
  • Living with your old building: An introduction for building owners and users
  • Maintenance Matters – The routine care of old buildings: a guide for owners and users.

Leicester City Council writes:

We are now taking bookings for this year’s practical training sessions delivered by the Heritage Skills Centre from Lincoln Castle and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). All courses are recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

DOWNLOAD the flier  

Read more….

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IHBC’s core social media network passes 14,000

social_networksThe IHBC thanks its active social media volunteeIHBC logors
who have helped membership numbers on its core networks to pass 14000 with, as of 22 August, the following membership spread: Linkedin: 5707; Twitter: 6651, and Facebook, with 1723 likes. 

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘This is a great achievement both for the institute for our many volunteers and members who have helped so much in extending our digital networks’.

‘Only 2 years ago numbers stood at less than 8500, so passing 14,000 now confirms both a more substantial recognition of our brand, as well as the wider constituency of interested players relying on our work.  Of course such numbers offer a simplistic measure, but they do also correlate to increased success with our business operations, including our very popular IHBC Jobs etc service, so these developments are significant to all our members and supporters’.

‘It is interesting too that numbers have increased fairly consistently across all the main platforms we use, as we are seeing lots of interests from a wide sector of social media users.  This is a good sign of our positive engagement with future generations of conservation practitioners, though that’s not to say there isn’t lots more work to be done in these areas’.

To join any of the IHBC’s free social media platforms simply follow the links from our Home Page at

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Spot Listing by Cadw for Grove School, Wrexham

A former grammar school in Wrexham has been granted listed building status by the Welsh Government, following a spot listing request to Cadw.

The Welsh Government writes:

A former Girls’ Grammar School in Wrexham, known locally as Grove Park School, has been awarded listed status for its special architectural interest on the grounds of its quality and character, Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates has announced today.

The decision to list the site was taken by the Cabinet Secretary after fresh and careful consideration of all submitted representations following a spot listing request made to Cadw earlier this year and a subsequent consultation with the owner, local planning authority and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

By law, under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, a listed building must be of special architectural or historic interest.

The legislation is supported by guidance (Wales Office Circulars 61/96 and 1/98) which explains the criteria against which candidate buildings will be assessed. The listing criteria explains the principal factors to be taken into account when considering a listing request. For example, a building might be considered for an Architectural interest listing if it is deemed as being nationally important for its architectural design, decoration, and craftsmanship.

Ken Skates considered the range of information submitted to Cadw by both supporters and challengers of the listing request. This included written and visual evidence and specialist advice, as well as the peer review and the advice that Wrexham County Borough Council commissioned.  In making his decision, the Cabinet Secretary acknowledged arguments on both sides but overall, considered there are sufficient grounds to approve the spot listing request for the former Grove Park School.

Ken Skates said: ‘On the balance of the evidence presented to me, considering the merits of listing the building against the published criteria and in light of all the representations and all of the advice that has been submitted, I have agreed to the listing for the building’s special architectural interest as a building of definite quality and character as a key example of an interwar girl’s grammar school in the neo-classical tradition (in a 1930s interpretation) surviving largely intact.’

The Cabinet Secretary added: ‘I believe the building is a key example of its type, with a number of features exhibiting stylistic flair. These include its handsome red brick exterior, the decoration between ground floor and first floor windows with herringbone brickwork and internal quality features such as an impressive elegant double sweep staircase being flooded with natural daylight by roof lanterns. There is also its parquet and terrazzo flooring, the sleek timber mouldings and the main hall being well proportioned and well lit.’

The decision to list the building has immediate effect and introduces a requirement for listed building consent to demolish the building or alter, or extend it in a way which affects it character as one of special architectural or historic interest.

View the press release

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RSA Heritage Index Update: Thoughts on criteria and datasets sought now

The Royal Society for Arts (RSA) is asking for help to update last year’s Heritage Index, including both thoughts on criteria (survey closing 7 September) and suggestions for new data.

The RSA writes:

In September 2015, we launched the first iteration of the RSA’s Heritage Index. This was an unprecedented data exercise, bringing together over 100 ways to measure the richness of heritage assets and activities across every local area in England, Scotland and Wales.

We are now in the midst of work to refine the previous index, and to expand on the range of data included. To make sure we don’t miss anything, we are asking you to consider submitting data, and to suggest improvements to the way in which we combine the many sources of data to produce a single Heritage Index score. We are also building a Northern Ireland index…

Now we’re looking to make the Heritage Index bigger and better for 2016.

If you think you have or can recommend data that could meet our criteria email

We’d also like you to tell us what you thought of the way in which we combined the many indicators of heritage. Have a look at how we balanced the indicators to produce a single Heritage Index score – for example, we ‘weighted’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites more heavily than Grade II listed buildings.

Fill out the survey now 

Links to Wales and Scotland are available through the survey.

Links to the Index 


See the call for more data

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Civic Voice & Reading Civic Society urge action on future of parks

Civic Voice have stressed the need for all civic societies to respond to the parliamentary inquiry on parks (by 30 September), also highlighting the work of Reading Civic Society in lobbying on this area.

Civic Voice writes:

Reading Civic Society are particularly seized by the contents of an article found in The Times on 5th August, by Richard Morrison, which highlighted that, in the noise which followed the Brexit vote, a group of MPs have established a Parliamentary Inquiry to look at the future of parks; how they should be supported now and in the future including ‘alternative management and funding models’.

Reading Civic Society has started to lobby its own members, and those of other voluntary groups in Reading, to either complete the online survey or to make a written submission of their views. Civic Voice is encouraging all of its members to do the same.

Whilst it notes the intent to engage with schools ‘…through the 75 Schools Ambassadors’ Reading Civic Society feels this is an aspiration which is hardly transparent in its implementation, unless you are on the inside track, and that we should ask schools to engage independently of such intent.  Reading Civic Society also has concerns that the attempt to engage schools will be undertaken at a time when schools will be focusing on orientating students at the start of the new terms, so this will not instantly be at the top of their priority list, unless the huge risks are highlighted to them. The society has therefore asked those with contacts in local schools to request that they also take part. It next plans to approach the local media and the town MPs.

The society asks that all civic societies do what they can to ensure as many people across the UK are aware of this Inquiry and to encourage them to make a submission of their views. 

All views have to be received by 30 September 2016.

View the news release and more information

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Wandsworth Council – most ‘pub friendly’?

Wandsworth Council in London is potentially the most ‘pub friendly’ Local Authority, as it has introduced Article 4 Directions to restrict changes of use to public houses.

Wandsworth Council writes:

Wandsworth has cemented its reputation as the ‘most pub-friendly council’ in the country by removing permitted development rights from 120 of the boroughs best loved bars and taverns.  It means these valued local venues can no longer be converted into mini-supermarkets, estate agents, homes or shops without the need for planning permission.

Wandsworth is the first local authority in the country to publish ‘Article 4 Directions’ on this scale and the pioneering move could be copied up and down the country to help defend the nation’s vulnerable pub trade.

In recent years an alarming number of local inns and taverns, including many viable and thriving businesses, have been quietly converted into other uses. Councils have been powerless to stop them, as owners have ‘permitted development rights’ allowing them to make the change without the need for planning permission.

The fast spread of mini-supermarkets has exacerbated the problem, with the major chains competing all over the country to find new premises and often choosing to convert pubs rather than taking over existing retail units.   But following Wandsworth Council’s ground breaking move all 120 pub owners affected will have to seek approval from the town hall before changing the building use or knocking it down.

In preparation for the Article 4 Directions, the council has already approved new planning guidance which specifically recognises the historic, architectural and community value of Wandsworth’s pubs.

This new policy, which  prompted The Publican Morning Advertiser to ask if Wandsworth is officially ‘the country’s most pub-friendly council’, now gives councillors valid grounds to refuse applications to convert any of these 120 venues into another use.

Deputy council leader Jonathan Cook said: ‘Wandsworth’s pubs are now the best protected in the entire country and have a genuine defence against the relentless spread of mini-supermarkets and estate agents.  We know how much our residents love their locals and in many cases they really are the epicenter of community life. I’m proud and delighted we’ve found a way to protect them.  I very much hope that other councils will follow our lead by adopting pub-friendly planning policies and then stripping away permitted development rights from their local inns, bars and taverns. This could be a real turning point for our nation’s superb but vulnerable pub trade and Wandsworth is more than ready to share its approach with other authorities.’

Geoff Strawbridge, Greater London CAMRA Regional Director, said: ‘I would like to see every planning authority in the country follow Wandsworth’s exemplary initiative in protecting its pubs and bars by removing permitted development rights.’

The 120 bars and pubs were chosen due to their historic or architectural value or because they make a positive contribution to their community.

They include The Alma, The Ship and The Cat’s Back in Wandsworth, The Bricklayers Arms, Arab Boy and Railway in Putney, The Plough , Falcon and The Beehive in Battersea and The Selkirk, Trafalgar Arms and Wheatsheaf in Tooting and the Bedford, Regent and Prince of Wales in Balham.  Some pubs that are currently closed have also been given protection, including the White Lion in Putney High Street and The Brewery Tap in Wandsworth High Street. It’s hoped this will give an added incentive to the owners to bring them back into use.

The Article 4 Directions were published on 12 August 2016 and pub owners have all been notified. Following consultation the Directions will need to be confirmed by the council enabling them to come into force in August 2017.

View the press release

Read more at Local Gov UK

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Masonry company seeks help on bail out from cash flow problems

The Stone Specialist reports that conservation contractor William Anelay, which recently featured on the BBC2 Hairy Builders programme, has announced it is having cash-flow problems in its masonry company and is asking creditors to help bail it out by accepting just a proportion of their debts under a company voluntary arrangement.

The Stone Specialist writes:

William Anelay, headed by an eighth generation member of the Anelay family (Charles), has always laid claim to being the oldest, continuously trading stonemasonry business in the country, with a provenance dating back to 1747.

But its masonry company is now a separate legal entity from William Anelay, having become a limited liability partnership involving Jonathan Hunter of Traditional Masonry in Yorkshire and moved away from William Anelay’s York premises. It is now at a one-acre site in Crigglestone, West Yorkshire, where it trades as Anelay Traditional Masonry.

Charles Anelay says: ‘While only a few projects outside our usual sphere have been involved, the values were significant and this has harmed our business performance and cash flow. They are now finished, save one, where completion is imminent, and another, which has been brought under control. But unfortunately we are now unable to pay suppliers.’

‘We have a fresh approach, have returned to our core operations and have a strong order book for the next 12 months and beyond.’

‘We appreciate that the need for a CVA will be a great disappointment to sub contractors and suppliers who have supported us for many years but this is the best way to make a maximum and prompt return to creditors and we are totally committed to making it a success. Of course, it can work only if our customers are prepared to support the proposal as well.’

‘With our bank’s support and a successful completion of the proposed debt restructuring, we aim to continue in our current form and are committed to completing schemes under contract.’ 

Read more….

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Seven projects receive HES funding – including ‘Outlander Castle’

A castle in the Highlands of Scotland, believed to be the inspiration for ‘Castle Leoch’ in Outlander, is one of the recipients of the latest round of heritage repair grant funding from Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

HES writes:

Castle Leod in Strathpeffer, Easter Ross widely thought to be the inspiration/basis for the fictional ‘Castle Leoch’ in the successful Outlander novels, is one of seven recipients of building repair grants across Scotland. Other projects to benefit from the scheme include the creation of affordable housing in one of Glasgow’s most deprived areas, and the creation of a health and wellbeing centre in Paisley.

The projects share a total of £576,460 awarded through Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Building Repair Grant Scheme, with priority being given to those applicants who demonstrated that investment in their projects would result in community benefit.

Martin Fairley, Head of Grants at HES, said:  The purpose of Building Repair Grants is primarily to assist with the repair and reuse of important historic buildings and sites, but also to ensure that the end use is something which the wider community benefits from.  Amongst the beneficiaries of the latest round of funding there is a former school in North Glasgow, disused since 2013, which is going to be converted into affordable houses. We also have a former Sunday school in Paisley which will eventually become a health centre, helping people to stop smoking, offering health checks, as well as dietary, alcohol and drugs advice. And we are able to fund vital repairs to a community centre which has served the people of Aberfeldy for nearly 30 years.’

The Category B listed former Greenview School (originally Balmore Public School), in Parkhouse, North Glasgow is set to receive £109,250 funding to convert the building into 28 housing units to be set at affordable rents to those in housing need. This is part of a wider £3 million project from the North Glasgow Community Planning Partnership in the area which will create jobs and training opportunities.

The Category A Listed Castle Leod in Strathpeffer, Easter Ross is set to receive a grant of £13,680 as part of the third phase of a project to open up the 16th century building to the public. The castle is recognised as being of national and international importance due to its architectural quality and the survival of 16th and 17th century fabrics featured. The surrounding gardens and landscape are included on the national inventory for landscapes. The funding will be used to carry out essential repairs to parts of the castle, in order to facilitate the creation of a visitor centre, study room, and refurbished disabled toilet facility. The new visitor centre will allow the castle to increase its opening hours and days.

The Category C listed Memorial Hall in Paisley is located in an area recognised as one of Scotland’s most deprived. Built by successful local architect Thomas G. Abercrombie in 1900, it is a rare example of a building purpose-built as a Sunday school. Paisley Seventh Advent Church have been awarded a £104,280 grant to assist with the conversion of the building to a church and health centre.

The Category A Listed James Watt Library in Inverclyde, dates back to the early 19th century and has been one of Greenock’s most important civic buildings for a long time. Thanks to a grant of £297,000 it’s long term future will be secured, parts of the building which have been unable to be used for years will be reopened, and the buildings capacity to provide high quality library, exhibition, and archiving facilities will be significantly improved.

View the press release and full list of grant recipients

Find out more about Historic Environment Scotland’s Building Repair Grants Scheme

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Crowdsourcing to put heritage of burial grounds on the map

A project which started in Shropshire, led by the charity Caring for God’s Acre, is aiming to go nationwide through a crowdsourced heritage map of burial grounds, helping to improve understanding of the importance of the heritage and biodiversity of the spaces.

Shropshire-based charity Caring for God’s Acre has been awarded support for the Beautiful Burial Ground project, thanks to National Lottery players.

The project aims to put burial grounds literally on the heritage map by creating a database and interactive map where individual sites can be mapped and linked to records of its wildlife, architecture and stories.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said: ‘From nesting spots in ancient trees to hiding places in undisturbed walls, burial grounds are incredibly important for wildlife and biodiversity.’  Volunteers of all ages are vital to the project and will have the opportunity to build research and recording skills, thanks to workshops and a series of special events.’

Vanessa added: ‘Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will put citizen scientists at the heart of creating a lasting and accessible record of the natural, built and social heritage of some of the UK’s thousands of burial grounds.’

The charity has been awarded £17,700 to develop the plans and apply for a full grant of £586,700.

Sue Cooper, Caring for God’s Acre, said: ‘The Beautiful Burial Ground Project will enable us to literally put burial sites on the map, and it’s great to know that we are a big step closer to conserving these amazing sites for the generations to come.’

The four-year project is expected to begin next autumn.

View the press release

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