73% of adults in England visited a heritage site in last year

England’s latest study on cultural engagement reveals that 73% of adults have visited a historic site in the last year, and 31% visit 3 to 4 times a year.

DCMS writes:
New data from the Taking Part survey released today show that more than half of adults in England (53%) had visited a museum or gallery in the last year, maintaining the high reached in 2012/13 and greater than in any previous year.

New data from the Taking Part survey released today show that more than half of adults in England (53%) had visited a museum or gallery in the last year, maintaining the high reached in 2012/13 and greater than in any previous year.

On top of this 78% of adults had attended or participated in the arts. Heritage also proved a firm favourite with 73% of adults having visited a heritage site. More frequent heritage visitors are also on the increase, 31% visited at least 3-4 times a year.

Furthermore, the National museums in the UK received 4.4 million visits in May 2014 according to figures published today.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘It is really encouraging to see the cultural sectors performing so well, and the ever increasing interest across all regions in our museums is particularly welcome. The Government recognises the value of arts and culture, which lie at the heart of UK life and we continue to work with and fund organisations like the Arts Council to find different ways of increasing attendance and participation in the arts.’

Access the full report at UK Gov

UK Gov news article

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Saving buildings from closure: an LGA study

The Local Government Association (LGA) has recently conducted research into public bodies working together to share facilities, land and buildings, stating that ‘buildings which are no longer affordable as single-use facilities could be saved from closure if public bodies work together using a ‘united estate’ model’.

TheLGA writes:
A new study by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that when public organisations, such as councils or the emergency services, share their land and buildings with similar agencies they can combine to manage fewer properties. If this model is widely adopted, it could provide a viable alternative to the closure of service buildings which are no longer affordable as single-use facilities.

Thirty-four councils took part in three waves of the Capital & Asset Programme, which was designed to encourage councils to use their land and property assets to achieve savings in running costs for the taxpayer, generate capital receipts for re-investment in other service priorities, and to help deliver economic growth and jobs. An evaluation report on the LGA programme has been published today.

The report also found the public estate can be used to promote local economic growth. All the councils which took part said their council was more likely to seek opportunities to promote economic growth from their asset holdings since joining the LGA’s Pathfinder programme.

Findings suggest potential for public bodies to provide better value for money by working together, and to take an integrated view of customer needs and services in local places.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Chair of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said ‘Councils have a long track record of rationalising their estates and of getting value for local tax payers.  In particular, we can see the benefits of councils working with the emergency services and other public sector organisations. This shows some buildings could be saved from closure if organisations work together.

‘Savings made through asset management can be invested into public services for the benefit of the community. There is also a real potential for local economic growth.  Councils will continue to make savings by rationalising their assets and we look forward to seeing more money saved across the country, money which will be reinvested in vital public services.’

View the press release

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Enforcement News: u-PVC windows in Conservation Areas

The Network for Planning Enforcement (NAPE) has recently featured a case study of a semi detached Edwardian property in a conservation area in Stockport where timber windows were replaced without first applying for planning permission (as the area was subject to an Article 4(2) direction).

The case covers issues of:

  • Applications for a certificate of lawful development (refused and dismissed on appeal)
  • Discussions regarding the use of u-PVC windows complying with the Councils energy efficiency policies within its Core Strategy
  • Submission of a retrospective planning application
  • Issuing of enforcement notices for removal of u-PVC windows and installation of replacement windows (with appropriate levels of detail for specification) (appealed and dismissed on appeal)

NAPE writes:
The appeal decisions.. show how the Inspector considered first whether the windows were development and then the fact that u-PVC windows are detrimental and may be of use in similar cases.

Additional cases involving u-PVC windows include:

Information on the RTPI Network for Planning Enforcement (NAPE)

Search planning portal for appeal references APP/C4235/C/14/2214760 and APP/C4235/X/13/2209170

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Europa Nostra 2015 Awards open

The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards is one of Europe’s prestigious prizes in the heritage field, and the 2015 nominations are now open, with a closing date of 15 October 2014.

Europa Nostra writes:
Every year, [the award] honours the most outstanding heritage achievements from all over Europe. It recognises the excellence and dedication by architects, craftsmen, cultural heritage experts, volunteers, schools, local communities, heritage owners and the media. It stimulates creativity and innovation, through the power of example.

In 2015, the Awards will be given to up to 30 remarkable heritage projects and initiatives in four categories. Up to seven will be selected as Grand Prix winners and receive €10,000 each. One will get the Public Choice Award.

What are the eligible countries?
Entries may be submitted from countries that take part in the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission. ?You can still apply for a Europa Nostra Award if your country is not on the list of eligible countries. You can check the list of eligible and non-eligible countries using from links from the web page.

Apply for an Award

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ICON fund for mid career conservators

The Institute for Conservation, ICON, has announced details of a new fund to help mid career conservators with continuing professional development, with grants of up to £900 available. 

ICON writes:
Tru Vue Inc has partnered with the Institute of Conservation (Icon) to provide funding for mid-career conservators from across the globe to attend professional development events such as conferences and training courses. This is very welcome as there are very few sources of funding for this kind of training and employers’ training budgets have been drastically reduced in recent years.

There will be a formal application process with three deadlines a year. Grants will range from £300 to £900 and there will be between 10 and 20 grants per year. The full details of the programme are available on the website.

Conservators from anywhere in the world are eligible to apply to Icon for funding, apart from members of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), who should apply to FAIC through a similar scheme.

Icon’s Chief Executive Alison Richmond says: ‘Icon is very pleased to be involved in this initiative as it is a goal of our National Conservation Education and Skills Strategy to provide more opportunities for conservators to learn at every stage of their careers. Tru Vue has been very supportive of Icon, sponsoring our triennial conference and Conservation Register. We are delighted that our relationship with Tru Vue continues to support the profession and the public by providing the means for conservators everywhere to develop their skills.’

‘We are pleased to be partnering with the Icon and FAIC to offer these scholarships to professionals who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend, and contribute towards their professional development goals,’ said Patti Dumbaugh, Vice President for Tru Vue, Inc.

‘Our goals for the program include encouraging international exchange and dissemination of training and conference information.  We look forward to their report out and sharing of key learning points and hope conservators with a thirst to learn from all over the world will take advantage of this program and the knowledge it can bring to their communities.’

View the press release

View more information on the programme

View details of IHBC awards and training

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New ‘Character and Context’ planning guidance for London

The Mayor of London has issued ‘Character and Context Supplementary Planning Guidance’, urging decision makers to have a full understanding of the heritage and environment of an area before making decisions affecting its future.

The Mayor of London writes:
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today (Friday, June 27) published detailed planning guidance to ensure that future developments enhance the rich character of the city.  With London set to be home to ten million people by 2030, the Mayor’s ‘Character and Context Supplementary Planning Guidance’ aims to ensure that London can continue to grow sustainably without losing its much-loved distinctiveness.

The guidance encourages anyone engaged with the planning system to fully understand the heritage and environment of an area before taking important decisions on its development.  It asks planners to think about how an area has come to be the way it is, the things about it that people who live, work, and visit want to see changed and the economic, social and other forces driving change.  In addition, the document builds on detailed guidance in the London Plan and the Mayor’s London View Management Framework that advises on the location of tall buildings and ensures strategic views across the city are protected. It also links in with the Mayor’s Opportunity Area Frameworks and the borough’s Local Plans which provide clear guidance about the right places in which to locate tall buildings.  By taking all of these factors into account, the Mayor expects that future developments will be more likely to be successful economically as well as aesthetically.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘Planning for neighbourhoods in a city as dynamic and diverse as London is a tricky business. This guidance aims to ensure that areas do not lose their unique character while allowing developers to continue to bring forward innovative and thought-provoking schemes.’

Planning Resource article on the new SPG

View the guidance document

IHBC newsblogs on ‘character’

London Major Press Releases

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CAMRA’s historic pub and club awards

An award scheme has been launched by CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) to celebrate the best public houses and clubs in Britain, particularly recognising standards in refurbishment and conservation, and with the closing date for entry is August  31 2014.

CAMRA writes:
The awards, held in association with English Heritage and the Victorian Society, recognise high standards of architecture in the refurbishment and conservation of existing pubs, and the construction of new ones.

‘Whether it’s a converted theatre or a Victorian Coaching House, we are looking to discover the best pub interiors and exteriors that Great Britain has to offer. The CAMRA Pub Design Awards competition is open to all pubs in the UK, and buildings can be nominated by their owners, landlords, local CAMRA branch members, or anybody else that thinks the pub deserves to win’said Sean Murphy, organiser of CAMRA’s Pub Design Awards

However Sean added that ‘entrants should bear in mind that they may be required to provide additional photographs and plans of the building during the judging process, so the pub licensee should always be made aware of, and approve of, the entry.’

Last year’s winners included a diverse range of pubs, from the Hall & Woodhouse in Portishead – a striking new build set in the marina and made from interconnected shipping containers – to the beautifully restored and converted York Tap, built inside the old model railway museum on a York’s train station.

The competition includes five categories:

  • New Build category – This category is for entirely new built pubs. The judges look for a number of details when judging the worth of any new establishment. The pub might reflect pubs of the past but without becoming a mere pastiche of Edwardian, Victorian or even Georgian artefacts. Or it could be completely modern, using materials of the 20th or 21st century.
  • Refurbishment category – Refurbishment can range from a complete gutting and replacement to an enhancement of what was originally there. Refurbishment should suit the individual pub and not be an excuse to use uniform furnishings to brand the pub with brewery or pub companies image.
  • Conversion to Pub Use category- This is where an existing building is converted to pub use. Pubs are judged on the taste and restraint used on both the outside and inside of the pub.
  • CAMRA/English Heritage Conservation award - This award, sponsored by English Heritage, is usually given for work which conserves what is good in the pub to ensure its future for generations of customers.
  • Joe Goodwin Award Category - named after the late CAMRA chair Joe Goodwin – is reserved for outstanding refurbished street-corner locals.

CAMRA have also recently launched a search for Britain’s best heritage clubs.  From backstreet working men’s clubs to plush Golf clubs, and everything in between, CAMRA want to identify clubs with historic interiors or those that were purpose-built and have remained largely unaltered.

‘There are some fantastic clubs all over the UK and we want to find the ones with the best preserved interiors, either those in buildings which are of historic interest or which have remained unaltered since their construction – even if that was as recently as 1971’ said John Holland, Chair of CAMRA’s Clubs Committee.

CAMRA are known for their pub preservation initiatives and have campaigned for a number of years to preserve Britain’s historic pubs, with their book ‘Britain’s Best Real Heritage Pubs’ being a consistent bestseller since publication last year.

Whilst CAMRA campaigns all over the country for high-quality real ales in clubs through the work of a dedicated Clubs Committee, they are keen to stress that this search is about the clubs heritage, not what beer is served.

‘We are always on the lookout for Clubs which serve excellent real ale, but this initiative is about more than beer, it is about discovering the hidden gems around the UK and helping preserve them for the future – regardless of what drinks they have behind the bar. It’s for this reason that we would encourage all clubs which think they are of historic interest to get in touch, no matter what beer you serve.’

For more information on historic clubs, or to submit an entry visit CAMRA

IHBC newsblogs on historic pubs

View the pub award entry details

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GII* baths to become business hub

Place North West reports that one of the first municipal swimming pools in the UK, which has been empty for 40 years and is grade II* listed, is now to be converted into small office, enterprise and business hubs for the community of Ashton in Tameside.

View images of the proposed development and details of funding secured for the project
at Tameside News

Place North West news article

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Portico: An online database of EH property records

English Heritage (EH) has formally launched an online service that is designed to offer a searchable database of properties in its care, concentrating on exploring the history and significance of the sites and properties.

EH writes:
Portico is an online resource which explores the history and significance of the properties in the care of English Heritage, and provides a gateway to further sources of information about them.

Over the next five years we aim to cover every English Heritage property on Portico.  Each entry will include:

  • a concise history of the site
  • a brief site description
  • a summary of the site’s significance
  • a guide to past, present and future research questions
  • a list of primary and secondary sources for further study.

Access Portico and the full list of property documentation currently available at EH Archives

See the initial NewsBlog on the pilot listings

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IHBC’s Annual School: Digital stories part 3 – ‘The Saturday’


Abbotsford image by Catherine Dove

This week the NewsBlog introduces the penultimate Storify featuring news from the summer school Saturday tours with input from many delegates

As with previous weeks, you do not need to have any social media accounts to read and explore the stories, only an internet connection.

Delegates experiences included:

  • insights into hidden gems of the Edinburgh Old Town
  • close up views of exquisite wallpaper at the Home of Sir Walter Scott
  • market town tours, with alleyways revealing beautiful vistas
  • a peek at the pubs of Edinburgh new town
  • explorations of the and opportunities of challenges of conservation in the World Heritage Site
  • a view of the Rosslyn Chapel including discussions on the conservation philosophy of managing old repair work and new design in a historic setting
  • unconventional ‘set reading’ for site visits
  • debates on designing a new wing for a listed country home
  • immersive tours of sculptures and landscapes which engaged every sense
  • self guided tours of the University precincts and stories of unsolved murders and memorable weddings

The Storify includes videos and photographs, as well as an audio tour of JupiterArtland.

Next week is the final Annual School Storify- we will bring you highlights from Orkney.

View the Saturday tour report

View previous newsblogs on the annual school

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‘Thatch & planning policy’: IHBC Research Note call for info

IHBC’s Research Consultant Bob Kindred is developing an IHBC Research Note on re-thatching issues under current planning policy, and is seeking information on relevant cases from members and colleagues.

Bob Kindred said: ‘One of the lines of research IHBC is currently looking at stems from recent members concerns about outcomes arising from planning and listed building applications for changes of materials used in re-thatching and questions of the harm to character and appearance.’

‘This issue may be best being captured in appeal decision letters issued by England’s Planning Inspectorate (PINS), but there may be relevant cases from anywhere in the UK.’

‘So if any members have any thatching-related appeal decisions, or comparable information, that highlight aspects of loss of local distinctiveness etc., I would be grateful if you would forward cases for review’.

‘As we need to progress the development of this Research Note in a timely fashion, this first call for data is open until Thursday 7 August.’

To alert Bob to a case that might be relevant please send all the details to him digitally at research@ihbc.org.uk.

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HLF seeks new Chair

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is seeking a new Chair, with a closing date for applications of 28 August 2014.

The HLF writes:
We are launching a campaign to recruit a Chair to lead both the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Board.

This is a prime ministerial appointment, made with the advice of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The NHMF is the nation’s grant-in-aid fund to save the most outstanding parts of our heritage at risk of loss to the nation, as a memorial to those who have given their lives for the UK, and has a current annual budget of £5m. To date, HLF has awarded over £6bn to 37,000 heritage projects across the UK from money raised by the Lottery for good causes and has a grant budget for 2014-15 of £375m.

The Chair will need to have a broad appreciation of heritage and promoting its public understanding and enjoyment, together with strong skills in strategic leadership, analytical thinking, influencing, communication and a sound understanding of corporate governance.

The Chair is responsible for the strategic leadership of the Board, taking ownership and responsibility for developing and delivering strategy, and is the primary Board-level advocate for the Fund, championing the aims and strategic objectives of the funds with government at Westminster and in the devolved administrations. 

Why lead our Board?
Our current chair offers her own insight: ‘Being Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund has above all been a great privilege. Working with such committed and talented trustees and staff has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience. HLF is making a real difference for heritage and bringing real and sustained benefits for people across the country. I have met truly inspirational applicants, grantees and volunteers and have visited transformational projects, both large and small. It has been an honour to chair an organisation which thrives on passion, professionalism and commitment.’ Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair September 2008 to August 2014.

More information

  • Our briefing pack, describes the role and the skills and experience the Chair will bring
  • For an informal discussion about the role contact our advising consultant Juliet Taylor at GatenbySanderson on 020 7426 3990

How to apply

Please send the following to decisionmakers.recruitment@hlf.org.uk

  • A CV and covering letter (each no more than three A4 sides) describing how you meet the person specification for the role
  • A completed conflicts of interest form, political activity monitoring form and personal details monitoring form

Completed applications must be received by 12 noon Thursday 28 August 2014

HLF news

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