Heritage Heroes at the Canal and River Trust

Former servicemen and women have been offered new opportunities as part of the ‘heritage heroes’ project operated by the Canal and River Trust and Help for Heroes, as part of funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Canal and River Trust writes:

Injured servicemen and women are being given the opportunity to re-build their lives, gain qualifications and learn new skills by transforming and restoring historic canals.

The Trust and Help for Heroes have come together to deliver an ambitious canal restoration and career recovery programme for wounded, injured or sick servicemen, women and veterans.

Veterans from across the country will join the Heritage Heroes project and work alongside our engineers, heritage advisors and volunteers from Pocklington Canal Amenity Society to resurrect part of the Pocklington Canal. The 18-month project will also see new volunteers recruited from nearby local communities in East Riding, Yorkshire.

The project, made possible by £500,000 funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, aims to bring pride and purpose back to our heroic veterans while restoring canals, some of which have been left neglected for decades.

Veterans returning from service are highly-skilled and capable individuals, with a great deal to contribute to society. Too often however they are ill-prepared for the transition back into the civilian world. The Heritage Heroes project will equip the wounded, injured or sick heroes with City & Guilds qualifications in construction, health and safety, horticulture and land-based management which can be used to help them identify a new, purposeful career.

Help for Heroes veteran David Simpson, 57, of Derby is a former Lance Corporal who served in the Falklands and Northern Ireland.  He suffers from anxiety and anger issues and hopes the project will help him discover his former self.  ‘The Falklands are where my main problems started. But it wasn’t until 28 years later that I finally sought help for them,’ father-of-four David explained.  ‘Whilst I was stationed in Fitzroy, I witnessed something horrible – a needless, senseless death. I haven’t been the same man since.’

David, who left the Army in 1988, was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and experiences severe anxiety and anger issues on a regular basis. He has struggled to hold down a job and has had more than 40 since he was discharged from the Army.  He said: ‘I have lived like a hermit for years now and that’s why I’m doing the Heritage Heroes project; I want a better life for myself. I’ve had 28 years of total stress and now I want to look forward.  ‘I know there is life after PTSD, it’s not all doom and gloom. This course will give me more confidence and a better outlook on life.’

The second phase of the project is taking place in Yorkshire. Working in partnership with the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society the veterans are helping to restore a Grade 2 Listed lock at Thornton. This involves repairing the historic brickwork to the lock chamber, replacing the timber lock gates and works to the lock floor. Currently only half of the canal is navigable but these works will be essential in completing the project and restoring the area which is a site of special scientific interest. Alongside the restoration works the veterans will be instrumental in creating a new nature trail, pond and refreshing a visitor centre.

Jason Leach, Enterprise and Restoration Team Manager for the Trust, said: ‘Heritage Heroes is such an exciting project for us. It gives the Canal & River Trust the opportunity to work with Help for Heroes to transform waterways as well as helping to rebuild our wounded heroes’ lives.’

View the press release

Find out more about Heritage Heroes

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Outdoor access funding for AONB historic landscapes in Wales

The Welsh Government has allocated £532,000 for 2016/2017 for improvements to access within historic landscape areas, which is the first time that Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) have received such funding.

The Welsh Government writes:

Visitors and local communities will now be able to enjoy even more of Wales’ great outdoors thanks to over half a million pounds of access funding, announced by Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths today.

In total, the Welsh Government has allocated £532,000 for 2016/2017 to improve accessibility in three of Wales’ iconic National Parks and four of our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Lesley Griffiths said:  ‘I am delighted to confirm funding of over half a million pounds that will improve accessibility to our unique, inspiring natural landmarks. Only last week the Lonely Planet guide ranked North Wales as the fourth ‘Best in Travel 2017’ region in the world and Gower was, of course, the UK’s first ever Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  That gives an indication of just how special our great outdoors are and we want even more people to be able to enjoy them.’

Proposed work in the Brecon Beacons includes improvements to the access road and facilities at Llyn y Fan Fach in the West Beacons, and visitor and traffic management improvements at Pontneddfechan in Wales’ popular Waterfall Country. Last year, Welsh Government funding allowed the park to repair damage caused by illegal off-roading.

Snowdonia National Park Authority will use the money to further develop the final section of the Snowdon circular route and to improve Cwellyn car park and Snowdon’s Watkin path.

Previous funding allowed Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority to improve accessibility to the award-winning coast path. This year they will focus on improving the visitor offer at car parks by redesigning, adding interpretation, and improving surfacing and traffic flow.

On behalf of National Parks Wales, John Cook, Chief Executive of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, said:  ‘The funding made available by Welsh Government has enabled each of Wales’ National Park Authorities to make access improvements throughout their respective areas. These significant improvements have created further opportunities for even more people to discover Wales’ world-class landscapes during the Year of Adventure and beyond, whilst ensuring the special qualities of these precious places are maintained for future generations.

‘Some of the work carried out by the park authorities will make some of their most iconic locations, such as Snowdon’s Circular Route and the Coast Path, more accessible for everyone, from experienced walkers to wheelchair users and families with buggies, while work at sites such as Llyn y Fan Fach will also alleviate visitor management pressures affecting local communities.’

Our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have successfully obtained this access funding for the first time. The grant will allow them to create further access opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy what they have to offer.

Howard Sutcliffe from the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB said: ‘This is the first year the AONBs have received funding for access improvements from the Welsh Government. We are delighted to have secured this funding as it provides us with the fantastic opportunity to carry out work that will encourage people to get out and explore our nationally and culturally significant landscapes just in time to prepare for the Year of Legends. Proposed work includes improving and creating routes for people of limited abilities to enjoy Wales’ extensive Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’

View the press release

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DCLG’s ‘Local Charities Day’- call for proposals and action: 16 December

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCLG) has called for communities to engage with the Local Charities Day concept, on 16 December, as an opportunity to increase civic engagement and highlight the work which local groups do. 

The Office for Civil Society writes:

Local Charities Day will put small, local charities and community groups into the spotlight, helping them thrive and demonstrate the great work they do in their areas.

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:  On Local Charities Day, I want us all to shout from the rooftops about small, local charities: their energy, commitment, expertise and the benefits they bring to their communities.  We have already done a huge amount of work for small and local charities, reducing regulation and introducing a Bill to parliament which will make Gift Aid even more flexible and generous.

There is more to do, and Local Charities Day and campaigns like Grow Your Tenner give us a chance to ensure that these responsive, locally engaged and committed organisations get the recognition they deserve, helping us build a Britain that works for everyone.

I would encourage as many people as possible to donate to a local cause through the ‘Grow Your Tenner’ campaign, helping us build a compassionate Britain that works for everyone.

In the lead up to Local Charities Day on 16th December, government is providing match funding for Localgiving’s ‘Grow Your Tenner’ campaign.

The Office for Civil Society has provided £245,000 in match funding to boost ‘Grow Your Tenner’, bringing the total match funding available for local charities participating in the campaign to £345,000. This money will match one time donations from the public by up to £10 and monthly direct debits by up to £10 for the first three months.

The Office for Civil Society is also contributing £5,000 in match funding for the #GiveMe5 campaign which will run on Local Charities Day, giving people another opportunity to get involved and support charities in their area.

View the press release

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Liverpool waterfront scheme scaled back

A proposed 19 storey development on Liverpool’s historic waterfront has been scaled back from earlier plans for a 25-storey scheme amid fears that it could detract from the prominence of the Three Graces.

Read more on at Insider

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Vic Soc: Now largest amenity society on Twitter

The Victorian Society has become the largest amenity society on Twitter following the Top Ten.

The Society can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIN.

See more at http://www.victoriansociety.org.uk

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IHBC: Reaching out to new audiences in conservation… from TRADA’s ‘Heritage Buildings’ in Manchester to ‘Risk and resilience’ in Bucharest

TRADA image 1IHBC volunteers, officers and staff make huge efforts to reach out to new audiences for conservation, but next week’s travels by IHBC director Sean O’Reilly are especially wide as he chairs a session of the IHBC CPD recognised conference on ‘Conserving and regenerating heritage buildings’ in Manchester on Tuesday, targeting non-conservation specialists, where the IHBC will host a stand, and on Friday explains how risk management in conservation offers lessons on ‘Risk Reduction for Resilient Cities’ at the international conference at the University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, using the IHBC’s journal Context and B.S. 7913 as joint guides.

On Manchester the organisers write:

Timber experts Exova BM TRADA have teamed up with leading construction and environmental consultants RSK, to co-host a FREE one-day seminar, which is recognised by the IHBC for CPD, on the challenges and obstacles encountered when conserving and regenerating heritage buildings, on Tuesday 1 November at the Museum of Science & Industry building in Manchester.

The UK’s historic built environment is unique and many buildings are irreplaceable.  Inspection and assessment of these buildings and their components presents technical challenges for conservation experts when undertaking renovation. This seminar is aimed at construction professionals who need to be aware of these challenges and how to overcome them.  Through a series of talks by industry professionals, delegates will gain an appreciation of the issues involved in conserving and regenerating historic buildings and how to overcome the challenges.

Bringing together some of the UK’s leading technical experts on structural assessment, renovation, fire and conservation, this seminar will be extremely valuable for construction professionals who deal with historic buildings. There will be a particular focus on case studies and examples of excellence delivered by a team that includes geomaterials scientists, conservators, geophysicists, structural engineers and timber technical consultants.

Topics to be covered include:

  • The role of Historic England
  • Application of ground penetrating radar and other non-intrusive methods
  • Structural assessment of historic buildings
  • Assessing the condition and strength of structural timber in historic buildings
  • The role of petrographic analysis
  • Decorative plaster ceiling conservation and investigation
  • The role of fire assessment and implementation of fire risk mitigation strategies
  • Regenerating historic buildings: the contractor’s experience

Download the full seminar brochure

Find out more at Exova BM TRADA….  and at RSK

Read more about BS 7913 and for more on the application of BS 7913 see the NewsBlog

Copies of BS 7913 are available to IHBC members and their employers at the discounted rate of £112, plus UK p+p of £8 (overseas postage on enquiry).

On the international conference ‘Risk Reduction for Resilient Cities’ the organisers in Bucharest write:

Romania, European country, is strongly exposed to seismic hazards coming from Vrancea area, likely to affect more than 50% of its national territory. A single occurrence of high magnitude can cause significant trans-border effects in the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria, as it already happened during the earthquakes in 1940 and 1977, when there were over 1,600 victims and the damages rose to 2 billion USD (World Bank, 1978).

In Bucharest, Romanian’s capital city the post-seismic strategy after March 4, 1977 disaster turned from strengthening and rehabilitation into the demolition of the old affected tissue. The reconstruction of 450 ha of the city affected one third of the urban population. The drama of one’s uprooting, loss of identity, of communities’ destruction left unhealed traces.

The correct reaction to multi-hazard as well as to aggressive contemporary real estate developments requires a fair assessment of the existing built fund that can become the renewable resources, and particularly to the heritage that must be protected as nonrenewable resource.

The conference aims to identify the critical apparatus that would underlie the analysis of the built fund exposed to multi-hazard, as well as to the pressures of developers, within a balanced relation between the cultural and functional value of significance and its value of vulnerability. The objectives will be linked to identifying the methodologies for establishing the urban, architectural and structural intervention decisions that would support the land development in terms of protecting the existing background and the exposed heritage.


The objectives of the conference are:

  • To provide a forum for professionals, researchers and students and post-doc students as means for dissemination and utilization of research results;
  • To support collaborations between researchers and institutions in the promotion and production of multidisciplinary research in protected areas;
  • To recognize meritorious contributions of researchers and institutions;
  • To promote quality research publications as credible sources of scientific literature;
  • Education on reducing the risk of disasters needs to be a component of the development program, by organizing approved groups having an educational role on various levels: the political level (national planners, management directors); community level (community leaders, public, teachers, students, local secular and religious leaders) and the level of volunteers (volunteers in disasters, spontaneous leaders);
  • Transmission of knowledge about architecture structure and urbanism strategies in reducing the risk of disaster from researchers, practitioners, officials to civil communities.


Reduction of the multi-hazard risk in protected urban areas through architecture, engineering and urbanism strategies for ensuring cities’ resilience.

Partner institutions

  • Academy of Technical Sciences from Romania – ASTR
  • Ministry of Education and Scientific Research – MECS
  • National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation – ANCS – UEFISCDI
  • Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration – MDRAP
  • General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations – ISU
  • Technical University of Constructions Bucharest – UTCB
  • Union of Architects in Romania – UAR
  • Architects’ Order from Romania – OAR
  • Register of Urban Planners from Romania – RUR 

For more on the Bucharest conference see http://www.rrrc.ro

Read more about BS 7913 and for more on the application of BS 7913 see the NewsBlog

Copies of BS 7913 are available to IHBC members and their employers at the discounted rate of £112, plus UK p+p of £8 (overseas postage on enquiry).

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IHBC’s FREE ‘Conservation Course Connection Day’ last chance – 9 Nov, Birmingham – one student representative per course…

Old Joint StockIf your conservation-related course or programme allows for it, do make sure it is represented at the IHBC’s free 4th ‘Conservation Course Connection Day’ by checking with your course director or the IHBC, and if you can’t make it along this year, maybe check in on social media or look out for us again this time next year.

IHBC CCCD Venue: The Old Joint Stock Birmingham

For social media links see our home page or go directly to Facebook or Twitter and join us on Linkedin.

For queries on the Connection Day contact Carla at support@ihbc.org.uk

Find out more about the 2015 Connection Day

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IHBC’s ‘Top HESPR tender pick of the week’: Argyll and Bute Council’s evidence-based promotion of the thermal efficiency of Rothesay’s traditional timber windows

HESPR_QAThe IHBC’s commercial conservation services listing, HESPR – the Historic Environment Service Providers Recognition scheme – offers weekly HESPR Bulletins with tender opportunities, and the Director’s top pick for IHBC members this week features Argyll and Bute Council’s call for a consultant to conduct a study and promotion of the thermal efficiency of Rothesay’s traditional timber windows, with a closing date of 4 November. 

IHBC Chair James Caird said: ‘Our weekly Bulletin of current tender notifications to HESPR members is an innovative service that supports commercial conservation businesses that work to the IHBC’s standards and expectations.  These weekly selections offer the wider heritage world a regular insight into the conservation profession that we hope combine good news, sector profile and service inspiration all in one.’

Top tender pick of the week:

The IHBC Director’s top pick from the HESPR Bulletin for this week comes from Argyll and Bute Council which is looking to better understand, advocate and promote the thermal values of Rothesay’s traditional timber windows.

The Council is advertising for a consultant ‘to conduct a case study into the thermal efficiency of Rothesay’s traditional timber windows, to make an assessment of all available non-intrusive methods of upgrading traditional timber windows in order to maximise energy efficiency, commission a contractor, undertake a desk based study of relevant information, to provide a full report detailing findings of the studies to show the difference made to ‘u’ values, to oversee the repairs and refurbishment, provide a written report on findings, including information on the relative costs and to provide a professionally designed and high quality promotional leaflet (for homeowners) to demonstrate the benefits of simple but effective energy efficiency interventions.’

Find out more about the notice

For more on HESPR and how to become a HESPR member see hespr.ihbc.org.uk

HESPR flyerDownload the HESPR flyer

For a free promotion of your tendering opportunities and work needs to the IHBC’s HESPR members, please send details and links to Joanna at contact@ihbc.org.uk, as soon as possible.

Tenders can also be advertised for a fee with IHBC Jobs etc, including a targeted email to 1600+ recipients as well as full coverage on our Newsblog alerts and social platforms (membership and followers c.14,000) and websites with 250,000 visits a month. Contact Joanna at contact@ihbc.org.uk

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Paul Morrell to advise in major review of industrial training boards

Robert Halfon, England’s Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, has announced that Paul Morrell, the former government construction advisor, has agreed to use his expertise in helping determine the future shape of industrial training boards.

The announcement follows the publication of a report by Mark Farmer for the Construction Leadership Council (published 17 Oct 2016) ‘Modernise or Die’which posed a number of questions about the ability of the UK construction sector to maintain and expand capacity, and the effectiveness and future role for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Paul Morrell OBE is an English chartered quantity surveyor, former senior partner of Davis Langdon, and from November 2009 to November 2012 the UK government’s first Chief Construction Adviser.  He led the UK Government, Innovation and Growth Team that produced ‘Low Carbon Construction’ (published in November 2010) and was also the instigator of the ‘Government Construction Strategy’ (published in May 2011) which championed collaboration and the use of information technology – notably building information modelling.

Robert Halfon, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills said: ‘I am delighted Paul has agreed to lend his experience and advice to this important review. Paul is a highly respected figure both in the industry and in government and is known as a strong force for change and modernisation.  The government’s ambitious infrastructure and housing plans require a step up in capability and capacity in the construction sector. Training boards can help deliver the skills we desperately need and I look forward to seeing some real recommendations from this review.’

Read more at UK Gov

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Victorian sea fort sale: Under £1 million

One of four forts ordered to be built by Prime Minister Henry John Temple, Third Viscount Palmerston, in 1860, following concerns over the strength of the French Navy, is up for auction for £875,000.

The fort, which sits four miles off the coast in the Solent, comprises two floors and a basement and has a circular road along the inner perimeter.

Read more about Horse Sands in the Daily Mail

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Elain Harwood’s ‘Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75’ wins SAHGB’s Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion

The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB) has awarded the 2016 Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion to Elain Harwood of Historic England for her ‘Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75’, described by publishers Yale as ‘the first major book to study English architecture between 1945 and 1975 in its entirety’, and published as part of The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art series.

SAHGB writes:

The ADH award is given annually to the author of a literary work which, in the opinion of the SAHGB award committee, provides an outstanding contribution to the study or knowledge of architectural history. The work must be by a British author (or authors), or deal with an aspect of the architectural history of the British Isles or the Commonwealth, and have been published within the past two years. The winner of each year’s award is announced at the annual lecture in October at the Courtauld Institute. Our thanks to those members who nominate books and provide citations

read more….


Yale writes:

This is the first major book to study English architecture between 1945 and 1975 in its entirety. Challenging previous scholarship on the subject and uncovering vast amounts of new material at the boundaries between architectural and social history, Elain Harwood structures the book around building types to reveal why the architecture takes the form it does. Buildings of all budgets and styles are examined, from major universities to the modest cafe. The book is illustrated with stunning new photography that reveals the logic, aspirations, and beauty of hundreds of buildings throughout England, at the point where many are disappearing or are being mutilated. Space, Hope, and Brutalism offers a convincing and lively overview of a subject and period that fascinates younger scholars and appeals to those who were witnesses to this history.

Elain Harwood, Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 (Yale University Press, 2015)

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HE’s Major Parish Churches research and resources published

Historic England (HE) has published a suite of research and resources on ‘Major Parish Churches’, ‘highly significant buildings that provide functions and services to local and regional communities in addition to parish ministry’.

Historic England writes:

The findings of the research project, case studies and film are now available on https://historicengland.org.uk/majorparishchurches

This research focuses on highly significant buildings that provide functions and services to local and regional communities in addition to parish ministry. It has explored the current physical condition and the resources available to maintain, repair, manage and sustain these buildings.

The project began in October 2015 and data was gathered from Church of England dioceses and sample parishes. The research questions covered five topics:

  • Attitudes towards the buildings
  • Who takes responsibility or contributes to their care
  • How they welcome visitors
  • Funding and finances
  • Making changes to accommodate new activities or facilities.

Fifty parish churches contributed to an online survey and a follow-up telephone interview. Each building is now the focus for a short case study.  Thirteen churches were chosen for more detailed investigation, to illustrate a cross-section of experiences, locations, roles and ministries to provide a deeper appreciation of the daily challenges and opportunities associated with using these buildings.   A separate report of these case studies is now available.

This work, funded by Historic England, was completed in partnership with Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Greater Churches Network, the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England and Doncaster Minster.

The project partners are greatly indebted to everyone who has taken part.

If you have any comments or queries about the research please email them to churches@historicengland.org.uk

For further information and to download the report go to https://historicengland.org.uk/majorparishchurches.

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Scotland’s Scottish Redundant Churches Trust (SRCT) seeks new board members

The Scottish Redundant Churches Trust (SRCT) seeks new trustees, ‘to play a vital role in the transition of the SRCT to a more entrepreneurial and financially resilient organisation’.

SRCT writes:

We are looking for dynamic new trustees to join the board at an exciting time of change for the organisation. Many of Scotland’s historic places of worship face an uncertain future and the SRCT is gearing up to respond to the challenge.

We are seeking additional board members to play a vital role in the transition of the SRCT to a more entrepreneurial and financially resilient organisation: achieving our objective of safeguarding Scotland’s religious heritage by working with local people to conserve, regenerate, and put historic churches back at the heart of communities.

New Trustees will assist in driving forward the transition process and the shaping and resourcing of the organisation to meet the changing needs of the ecclesiastical heritage sector. They will also support the raising of the profile of the sector and its cultural and social value.

We’re looking for people who support the objectives of the Trust and can offer skills or experience in some of the following areas

  • finance or business
  • property management
  • tourism or arts
  • marketing, PR or media
  • fundraising
  • law

And who

  • think strategically
  • enjoy working collaboratively with colleagues
  • are interested in the heritage sector

For more on the SRCT see http://www.srct.org.uk

More information on how to apply

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Heathrow chosen as site of new runway

The UK Government has chosen Heathrow as the site for airport expansion.

View the full press release and more information about the proposals

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National Grid consultation: ‘Undergrounding’ cables plans for National Park

The National Grid has revealed plans to rationalise the cabling within the Lake District National Park and the Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site, including removal of surplus pylons and undergrounding other supplies; the public consultation on these proposals starts on 28 October 2016 and runs until 5pm on 6 January 2017.

The National Grid writes:

National Grid has unveiled its detailed proposals for the £2.8bn project to connect the proposed nuclear power station at Moorside in Cumbria into the electricity network, ahead of starting consultation on Friday 28 October. The company is proposing extensive measures to reduce the impact of the project on the landscape of Cumbria while balancing this with the need to keep energy bills affordable. It has today announced plans to look at putting 23.4km (14.5 miles) of new line underground through the entire western section of the Lake District National Park. This could see the existing lines there being removed completely, leaving this part of the park free of pylons for the first time in 50 years. This is in addition to: – putting cables through a tunnel measuring approx. 22km (13 miles) under Morecambe Bay to avoid the south part of the national park at a cost of £1.2bn – removing many of the existing pylons owned by Electricity North West (ENW) and replacing them with fewer, taller pylons of its own operating at a greater voltage – replacing the low voltage line in the area around the Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site with underground cables Consultation on the proposals starts on Friday 28 October and nearly 90,000 newsletters have been mailed to homes and businesses along to route to explain how people can take part.

Robert Powell, Project Manager said: ‘We’ve undertaken significant engagement during the six years we have spent developing our plans. We’ve listened very carefully to groups like the Lake District National Park Authority, the National Trust and members of the public on the importance of the national park and other treasured landscapes in Cumbria and Lancashire. ‘Balancing the impact of the project on the landscape against its cost has involved making some difficult choices as the cost of building a connection is ultimately passed on to energy bill payers. We believe the proposal we are going to consult on over the coming months strikes the best balance. Our consultation will now give people a chance to have their say on the fine detail of the project.’ National Grid is confident that along the approx164km (102 mile) route of the proposed connection, it can remove many of the existing pylons owned by Electricity North West which carry low voltage power lines around the west coast of Cumbria. It will replace them with fewer, taller pylons carrying lines of its own operating at a higher voltage. Engineers are already developing proposals for a £1.2bn tunnel under Morecambe Bay which would avoid putting new lines through the southern part of the Lake District. It is already estimated that around £1.9bn will be spent putting sections of the connection out of sight – over 50% of the cost of the total project.

Since publishing details of the route the new connection could take in June last year, National Grid has been talking to local authorities and key bodies about the technology which could be used to make the connection and to map out in detail exactly where in the landscape it could sit. The company has also made contact with landowners and land occupiers along the route and is currently carrying out surveys in some locations to gather vital information.

The company is proposing to build a complete connection to link the proposed new power station into the electricity transmission network. This will see the connection built along a route going onshore north from Moorside to an existing substation at Harker near Carlisle in addition to a route going onshore south from Moorside across the Furness peninsula and through a tunnel under Morecambe Bay which would come up at an existing substation near Heysham in Lancashire. This would effectively create a ‘power ring’ around the NW coast which would provide Moorside with a secure connection into the grid and also allow other new generators to link into the electricity network in Cumbria in the future. The company aims to submit an application for consent to build the new connection to the Planning Inspectorate in 2017. A decision will then be made by the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. If consent is granted, construction work is expected to start in 2019. National Grid is currently contracted to provide NuGen with the first phase of the connection into its transmission network by 2024.

Consultation starts on 28 October 2016 and runs until 5pm on 6 January 2017. People can take part online on the project website and can register there for updates as the project progresses.

View the press release

Respond to the consultation and find out more about the project

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GII listing for rare reception house associated with cholera outbreak

A property which was once used as a site to store the bodies of victims of the cholera epidemic in London has been granted Grade II listing, as a rare example of its type.

Historic England writes:

A 19th Century building used to store the dead prior to burial has received Grade II listing from Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch.

The reception house in Hammersmith’s Margravine Cemetery is a rare example of the buildings that were used to address the repeated cholera outbreaks in London between 1832 and 1866.

With disease continuing to spread throughout the city, Edwin Chadwick, the Secretary to the Poor Law Commission, led a nationwide review of the sanitary conditions of the poor. He found that most families could not afford a funeral, so a body was often left on a table in the house while money was raised for a funeral. These health conditions contributed to the spread of cholera throughout London. Chadwick called for reception houses to be built to house coffins between death and the funeral to prevent the spread of disease.

There were also calls for reception houses to address a common fear at the time of being buried alive. Across continental Europe ‘waiting mortuaries’ where bodies would be held until signs of decomposition were evident were already established.

Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said:  This reception house gives us a glimpse into how cholera outbreaks changed Victorian attitudes to burials and public health standards. It’s an important part of London’s history and I’m delighted that it will be listed.  The Margravine Cemetery reception house is the only one of its kind remaining in London. It survives in its original condition and the interior remains largely untouched. The building contains stone slabs on the walls to hold the coffins along the five sides of the house.

Nine mortuaries were constructed across the city, but they were much larger and provided coroner’s facilities, rather than just spaces for housing the dead. Undertakers were then introduced in the 1880’s, making reception houses unnecessary.  The decision to list was made based on the building’s rarity, architectural interest and for adding to our understanding of Victorian funeral practices and improvements in public health.

Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England, said:  The history of death is the history of life as well: of how we remember, how we improve public health, and how we separate the living from the dead. Nowhere tells this as eloquently as a cemetery, and Margravine Cemetery contains some truly eloquent reminders of the London Way of Death’.

Ruth Savery, Secretary of The Friends of Margravine Cemetery said:

We’re proud to have this fascinating piece of local history in Margravine Cemetery to add to our three listed monuments. It’s remarkable how well the reception house has survived and we’re delighted it is gaining this recognition.

View the press release

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Context’s 2016 Annual School – ‘Tecton at Dudley’ – reaches IHBC’s Conservation Wiki

Dudley Zoo image copyright Tom HunterReports from IHBC’s journal Context that covered the IHBC’s 2016 Annual School visit to Dudley, which covered both the Tecton work at the Castle as well as regeneration in the town, have been used to shape a new article for IHBC’s Conservation Wiki on the modernist work and its conservation.

See the online article

Dudley Zoo Entrance – image © Tom Hunter

To help develop any evolving articles on the IHBC’s Conservation Wiki, go to the website, sign in and add your articles or updates!

View the 2016 Annual School issue of Context

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IHBC trustee highlights risk to RICS: ‘One in four UK buildings is at risk… so just follow BS 7913’

bs_7913_rcowanIHBC trustee John Edwards has featured an article in the November issue of the RICS Property Journal where he ‘argues that traditional buildings are in need of better treatment and understanding’ by the profession.

John Edwards writes: ‘Nearly all buildings are economic assets that should also be healthy places to occupy; but they are at risk if not treated properly. Such risks often arise, however, because of a lack of understanding and inappropriate treatment…’

‘Best practice… means following BS 7913: 2013, which gives authoritative guidance on how to deal with traditional and historic buildings’

Read the article and for more on the application of BS 7913 see the NewsBlog

Copies of BS 7913 are available to IHBC members and their employers at the discounted rate of £112, plus UK p+p of £8 (overseas postage on enquiry).

Online purchase is also available linked from the web page, with a surcharge.

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Scottish Land Fund leads to community ownership of Eyemouth ‘Cat. B’ Listed Building

Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders is the latest community to benefit from funding from the Scottish Land Fund, with an eco-innovation centre being established in the former Town Hall, a ‘Category B’ Listed Building.

The Big Lottery Fund writes:

An historic ‘B Listed’ building in the heart of Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders will be brought into community ownership, thanks to a £82,500 Scottish Land Fund award announced on Friday 14th October 2016. 

Taking forward a long held community ambition, Eyemouth & District Community Trust will now be able to purchase and redevelop the vacant Burgh Chambers and adjoining Town Hall to create a ‘Social Eco Innovation Centre’. The centre will provide a learning and training space, a social enterprise training kitchen, an IT resource centre, office space for new businesses and space for local community activity.

Sina Anderson of the Eyemouth & District Community Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to receive this generous award from Scottish Land Fund.  This funding will enable us to proceed with the proposed Eyemouth Social Innovation Centre, a project set right in the centre of Eyemouth, supporting the regeneration of the town and bringing a much loved building back into community use.  Whilst the community has always been keen to retain the old Burgh Chambers and Town Hall, as a community space, now with the conversion to a multi-use space, it will give added benefit to the town.

‘Eyemouth until recent times was one of the largest fishing ports in the whole of Scotland but now needs to look to other opportunities to sustain the town.  This project will address the need for a variety of training, office space and business support, in an effort to encourage young people to stay in the town, offer retraining, as well as attracting new businesses and start ups, to provide employment.’

Announcing the award, John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, said: ‘This is an important Scottish Land Fund award that will help the people of Eyemouth embark on an exciting journey of community ownership. This project will bring tremendous benefits by helping to increase skills, opportunities and training for local people, as well as encouraging innovation and helping new and emerging businesses to flourish.’

Cabinet Secretary Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: ‘I am delighted Eyemouth & District Community Trust have received an award from the Scottish Land Fund to progress the purchase of the Burgh Cambers and adjoining Town Hall.  The community ownership of these iconic buildings in Eyemouth will allow the community to make more decisions about the use of these historical buildings.  The plans for training areas, community activities and spaces for new businesses are all key to community empowerment and it is pleasing to see Eyemouth & District Community Trust’s innovation here.’

Sandra Holmes, HIE’s sector lead for community assets, said: ‘Eyemouth & District Community Trust have worked really hard to make their community ambition a reality and I’m glad they were able to secure funding from The Scottish Land Fund to achieve this. It will be great to see the benefits the proposed centre will have on the wider community.’

Also announced today is a second Scottish Land Fund award of £20,755 to North Harris Trust who will purchase and convert a former Elderly Care Unit to provide two affordable housing units.

The Scottish Land Fund was relaunched in March 2016. As part of this refresh, the programme was expanded to apply to both urban and rural projects.

read more….

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Liverpool’s GI Royal Liver Building for sale

The iconic Grade I (GI) listed Royal Liver Building in Liverpool is to be marketed for sale.

CBRE writes:

Acting on behalf of Royal London Mutual Insurance Society, CBRE has been instructed to sell the iconic Royal Liver Building in Liverpool.

This is the first time that the world-renowned Grade I Listed property has been offered for sale since its grand opening in 1911 as the headquarters of the Royal Liver Assurance Group. Today, the Royal Liver Building is the most recognisable landmark in the city of Liverpool and is home to the two fabled Liver Birds which watch over the city and the sea.

The Royal Liver Building is located at the Liverpool Pier Head and, along with the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building, forms one of Liverpool’s Three Graces lining the city’s UNESCO protected waterfront.

The building has undergone extensive refurbishment over recent years, which has delivered a high-quality working environment providing modern office space whilst preserving the building’s stunning original architectural features.

The property, extends to over 330,000 sq ft of office and events space, is now occupied by a host of well-known companies including Princes Foods, ITV, HSBC, Mott MacDonald and Grant Thornton.

Executive Director at CBRE in Manchester, Colin Thomasson said ‘We are delighted and extremely proud to be instructed to seek a purchaser for this truly iconic symbol of Liverpool. The Royal Liver Building is known worldwide and we expect the sale to attract strong interest from investors in the UK and around the globe. Our clients have been great custodians of this building for over 100 years, and this sale presents an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a unique part of Liverpool’s heritage’. 

read more….

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Vic Soc: Top Ten endangered buildings list highlights neglect outside South East, while Griff says ‘Campaign to save them’

The national architectural charity, the Victorian Society (Vic Soc), released its 2016 Top Ten Endangered Buildings list, while Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, has urged people living near the buildings on the list to ‘seize the opportunity’ and campaign to save them.

The Vic Soc writes:

For the first time there are no buildings on the list in London and the South East – where the Society had comparatively few nominations. The Society considers that the greater number of buildings nominated from elsewhere may reflect the more difficult development situation outside the South East. All the buildings in the Top Ten are in real risk of being lost if action is not taken in the immediate future. Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, has urged people living near the buildings on the list to ‘seize the opportunity’ and campaign to save them.

The 2016 list includes an important, but derelict, Phillip Webb arts and crafts house which was the childhood home of a pioneering female Victorian explorer of the Middle East; a landmark of the Grimsby skyline where structural instability forced residents out of their homes; an abandoned Gothic seminary said to be comedian Johnny Vegas’ former school; and a grade II*-listed church with stunning wall paintings and stained glass. The publicity from inclusion in the Top Ten list often sparks new interest in the buildings which can help save them….

Victorian Society Director, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘This year, for the first time, the Top Ten has no entries from London or the South East. We simply got far more nominations from other regions. This perhaps reflects the vastly different financial climate for development in many areas outside the South East. But whatever the reason I hope inclusion on the Top Ten will spur local authorities and owners to urgently find solutions for these buildings. Retaining historic buildings like those in the Top Ten is vital to maintaining local identity and creating places in which people want to invest, live and work.’

Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, said: ‘The nationally important buildings on the Victorian Society’s Top Ten list are in dire need of help. Many of them are in prominent locations in their towns and cities. Following my experience with the Hackney Empire I know how difficult finding funding can be – especially outside London. However, restoring important historic buildings is worth investing in as it can be a catalyst for wider regeneration. I hope people living near these buildings will seize this opportunity and campaign to save them. Ultimately, it is the support of local people which will ensure that they are not lost forever.’

The full 2016 Top Ten, in no particular order, are:

The Society has published an updated campaigning guide to encourage people to fight for the buildings they are concerned about which have not made the Top Ten list.

Photographs of all the buildings in the Top Ten are available here.

read more….

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CIC launches brand refresh and strapline: BUILT ENVIRONMENT PROFESSIONS TOGETHER

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has launched its brand refresh with a new logo and strapline: BUILT ENVIRONMENT PROFESSIONS TOGETHER

The CIC writes:

At the 101st Meeting of Construction Industry Council (CIC) Members held yesterday at the London offices of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in Kingsway, CIC’s new logo, together with its new strapline: BUILT ENVIRONMENT PROFESSIONS TOGETHER, was officially launched.

This brand refresh is one of several recommendations of a year-long Strategic Review of the CIC to identify the future focus and shape of the organisation to best serve its members over the next five years.  The recommendation stated that the CIC should have a name and strapline which reflects what the organisation represents, with a clear message and vision and defined priorities which are regularly re-assessed.

At the previous Council meeting on 30th June 2016, members agreed that the existing CIC name and logo be retained, but the latter be reviewed for updating to suit new digital media devices and that ‘Built Environment Professions Together’ be the CIC strapline to be added to the name and logo, for implementation as soon as possible.

The original CIC logo was designed by the architect, David Rock CBE, when it was known as the Building Industry Council in 1988/89; it was initially red before changing to blue in 1991 when the organisation’s name was changed to the Construction Industry Council.  The logo represents an agora, which is a Greek word, meaning ‘gathering place’ or ‘assembly’.  The Agora was traditionally the centre of any Greek city and was an open-ended forum for discussion.  It was therefore intended to represent the ideal of the Council as a forum for the built environment professional bodies.

The new logo was designed by Ocean Design, whose brief was to keep the agora but update the logo so that it could be successfully utilised across all digital platforms.

Speaking about the new, refreshed CIC logo, its Chief Executive, Graham Watts, had this to say: ‘Former RIBA President, David Rock, gave the Building Industry Council, which became the Construction Industry Council, in 1991, a logo that truly represented the collaborative ideals of the organisation.  It was a professional image that enabled a fledgling organisation to punch above its weight, in so many ways.   I have lived with it, more or less every day, for 25 years and, whilst it is sad to say goodbye to an old friend, I’m truly delighted with the new design from Ocean.  It’s fresh, vibrant, colourful; works well on a range of platforms and yet remains true to that collaborative ideal that will continue to sustain the CIC and its members for many more years.’

The CIC Strategic Review was facilitated by Richard Brindley of R Brindley Consult Ltd., and led by Tony Burton, CIC Chairman (2014/16), with support from Professor John Nolan (CIC Deputy Chairman 2015/16 and Chairman from 30 June 2016), Graham Watts and CIC staff members, a Strategic Review Steering Group, comprising several member representatives, and workshops of member representatives at the 2015 and 2016 Members’ Conferences.

read more….

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Official ‘Farmer review’: Construction sector must ‘modernise or die’ – and tax those not supporting skills

The ‘Farmer Review’, a report commissioned by the government and carried out by Cast Consultants, a real estate and construction consultancy, has concluded that the construction sector must ‘modernise or die’, being highly critical in relation to its delivery, innovation, investment and training practices, while proposing ‘alternative’ dis-incentives, such as a tax levy ‘on businesses who buy construction work in a way that doesn’t support industry innovation or skills development’.

Cast Consultancy writes:

Britain’s construction industry faces ‘inexorable decline’ unless radical steps are taken to address its longstanding problems, according to an independent review commissioned by two Government departments. The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model highlights construction’s dysfunctional training model, its lack of innovation and collaboration as well as its non-existent research and development (R&D) culture. Low productivity continues to hamper the sector, while recent high levels of cost inflation, driven by a shortage of workers, has stalled numerous housing schemes as they have become too expensive to build.

Led by Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast, a real estate and construction consultancy, the hard-hitting report says we need to better align the needs of construction firms and the businesses who hire them. ‘If you buy a new car, you expect it to have been built in a factory to exacting standards, to be delivered on time, to an agreed price and to a predetermined quality’ said Farmer. ‘This needs to happen more in construction, so that the investors, developers or building owners hiring construction firms increasingly dictate the use of modern methods of delivery and invest appropriately in the skills agenda to grow this part of the industry. There are more similarities between manufacturing and construction than many people are led to believe and this perception needs to change, starting in the housing market’

One recommendation set out for the medium term is a ‘carrier bag charge’ style behavioural deterrent scheme. This would levy a tax on businesses who buy construction work in a way that doesn’t support industry innovation or skills development. Clients could face paying a suggested levy equal to 0.5 percent of a scheme’s construction cost but would have the ability to avoid paying this tax completely by commissioning construction in a more responsible way. Farmer, a 25-year veteran of the industry, and former partner at EC Harris, said the industry needs to be far more joined-up with its clients in how it approaches R&D and skills. He also wants ministers to directly intervene in certain areas to ensure many of the issues identified are rectified. Commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Farmer has made 10 recommendations which include:

  • Using the residential development sector as a pilot programme to drive forward the large scale use of pre-manufactured construction, for example, through off-site built or modular housing.
  • A wholesale reform of the current Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and its related levy system, including a new mandate to properly fund and drive forward both appropriate skills development and innovation to suit a modern progressive industry
  • Government to use its education, fiscal, housing and planning policy measures to initiate change and create the right conditions that will support the construction sector’s modernisation.

With more people leaving the industry each year than joining, the construction workforce is shrinking, placing increasingly severe constraints on its capacity to build housing and infrastructure. Reliance on a fractured supply chain and self-employment also means there is little incentive for contractors to invest in long term training for the labour force. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that many school leavers and graduates don’t view construction as an attractive career choice. A YouGov poll earlier this year found that two-thirds of Britons wouldn’t consider a career in construction. If Brexit results in reduced migrant labour, the situation could be made even worse. Crucially, it hasn’t raised its productivity in decades so urgently needs to explore ways to make the work less labour intensive, such as through offsite construction. This, in turn, could make a career in the sector more attractive for young people by moving the work from building sites to digitally enabled working in factories.

Mark Farmer, report author and chief executive of Cast, said: ‘The construction industry is in dire need of change. What is clear to me following the nine months spent conducting this review is that carrying on as we are is simply not an option. With digital technology advancements pushing ahead in almost every other industry and with the construction labour pool coming under serious pressure, the time has come for action. The construction industry doesn’t have the impetus needed for this change, it requires external action to initiate change. ‘Unless we find some way of promoting innovation in construction and making the work less labour intensive and more attractive to new entrants, there’s a very real danger of the construction sector going into an inexorable decline over the next few years. I hope this review generates some debate in the sector and all involved can consider their role in safeguarding the industry’s long term health.’

Industry Minister Jesse Norman said: ‘This Government is determined to support more housebuilding, more quickly and in the places people want to live. Given the launch of the £3 billion Home Building Fund, Mark Farmer’s important review in this vital sector is very timely. It makes a strong case for change in the industry, identifies areas where it needs to improve, and sets out areas for action. We will now carefully consider his recommendations.’

Paul Stanworth, Managing Director of Legal & General Capital, said: ‘This review sets out a clear way for the construction sector to reinvent itself inorder to meet the ever-growing demand for homes and infrastructure. With such a chronic shortage of homes in the UK, we see rapid evolution as a ‘must have’ for the industry, not just a ‘nice to have’. Having identified such a requirement, Legal & General is helping to address this problem by investing in a modern factory to produce homes using manufacturing processes seen in the production of cars and other consumer goods. This construction method is safe, clean, and fast, providing a high level of consistency and durability. We sincerely hope that Farmer’s review galvanises the entire sector to invest in innovation and secure its future.’

Richard Meier, partner at Argent, said: ‘This report makes quite clear the scale of the challenge, and the opportunity, that the construction industry faces today. There is significant appetite to invest in both existing asset classes and emerging asset classes such as Build to Rent. But the industry must make some bold changes to ensure there is sufficient capacity to actually deliver all this, thereby helping to unlock this investment. Partnering will play a key role going forward, not just on major regeneration schemes such as King’s Cross, but on a smaller scale too.’

Ray Theakston, construction director at Essential Living, said: ‘This review should be worrying reading for anyone involved in the construction industry, which needs to change drastically or risk becoming unfit for purpose. ‘We’re exploring modular construction throughout our portfolio thanks to the key advantages it offers us as a rental developer and operator, whether that’s shorter programme time or design consistency. So it’s good to see Farmer carry on as such a strong proponent for these methods.’

Ray O’Rourke, chairman and chief executive at Laing O’Rourke, said: ‘Laing O’Rourke has invested heavily in innovation and continuous improvement, and therefore I welcome many of the findings and recommendations of the Farmer review. The report shines a light on the serious and systemic issues in UK house building and the wider construction industry, and we cannot afford to ignore them any longer.  There is significant scope for radical transformation through the adoption of new technologies and advanced manufacturing approaches. This will deliver the quality housing stock the UK urgently requires and directly address the acute skills gap that threatens our very future. Government, developers and deliverers need to invest collectively to achieve these shared goals and future-proof the industry.’

Mark Reynolds, chief executive officer at Mace, said: ‘Farmer’s review makes it clear that the construction industry needs to invest in training and R&D to boost productivity and ensure we have adequate capacity to deliver the UK’s economic and social infrastructure. It underlines the importance of introducing new skills and technology to the sector. We all need to embrace this catalyst for change to attract a new breed of talent to revolutionise our industry’. 

View the press release and read the report

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First Green Gas Mill in Britain given consent: as grass gas heats 4000 homes

A £10 million Green Gas Mill, which produces heating for 4000 houses using green gas from grass, has been granted planning permission by Winchester City Council.

Ecotricity writes:

Ecotricity, Britain’s leading green energy company, has today received planning permission to build a Green Gas Mill in Hampshire – the first of its kind in Britain.

Located at Sparsholt College in Hampshire and fuelled by locally sourced grass, the Green Gas Mill will inject £60 million into the local economy, create new jobs, and produce enough clean gas to heat over 4,000 homes every year.

As part of the unique partnership, Ecotricity will finance and build the Green Gas Mill with an investment of £10 million, and also help fund the development of a Renewable Energy Demonstration Centre.

The College has agreed funding of £1.2m in grant funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership (M3 LEP) to go towards the development of the College’s Renewable Energy Demonstration Centre.

The Renewable Energy Demonstration Centre will also be the first of its kind – a place to train the next generation of green energy engineers in Britain.

Ecotricity introduced the concept of making green gas from grass in Britain early last year, and after today’s planning permission from Winchester City Council, it will be full speed ahead to complete the necessary preparation before construction can begin.

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: ’This is great news, green gas from grass has so much to offer Britain, and this planning consent gives us the opportunity to get started.  Earlier this week the government overruled the local planners in Lancashire to grant approval for the first Fracking site in Britain – as opinion polls show opposition to Fracking reaching an all-time high.  Green gas is the answer, Hampshire looks set to lead the way.’

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BBC News features GII* ‘home of forbidden love’: By Raymond McGrath

BBC News explores how the structure of a Grade II* listed 1930s home of Gerald Schlesinger and Christopher Tunnard, managed to help keep a secret that would otherwise have criminalised its owners, as its ‘LGBTQ’ history has now been officially acknowledged in the nations heritage.

read more…. and see the Historic England list entry

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