IHBC greets DCLG support for amenity society notifications

The IHBC has warmly welcomed the news that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), in its recently published response to the August 2014 consultation on planning application process changes, has held back on proposed changes that would have meant limiting notification to amenity societies to cases involving the demolition of a ‘substantial’ part of the building.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘We are very relieved that government has listened to the cross-sector partnership of interests in this critical area of public consultation.  It marks an important fact: that supporting amenity societies lies at the heart of any competent planning system, because they deliver the informed, civic and heritage perspective that is essential to securing true sustainable development.’

In response to this announcement, Matthew Slocombe, Secretary of the Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societies said:

‘The National Amenity Societies are especially delighted that constructive discussion with CLG has ensured that the notifications of listed building applications should remain at their present level.  We’re extremely grateful for the support from IHBC that helped secure this outcome.’

View the Heritage Alliance report on the release of government responses to the Planning application process improvements consultation  

View the DCLG responses (paragraph 33 outlines demolition items)

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NI planning milestone: Local conservation officers on the way!

The statutory powers that transfer new planning functions to district councils in Northern Ireland (NI) – and with these, local conservation officers and planning services – were passed on 28 January.

DoENI writes:
Commencement No 2 Order under the Planning Act was approved by the Assembly.

Welcoming Assembly backing for his legislation, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: ‘This is an important milestone. Backing for this Order keeps on track the transfer of planning functions to the 11 new district councils for April 2015. It will help see power moving closer to local people with stronger councils with more responsibility and local accountability for planning. Local planning decisions and plans being made by councillors responding to local needs with local solutions.

‘An enormous amount of work has been undertaken across the Department, local councils and a range of key stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition. As part of the programme the DOE has provided practical and financial support to ensure the new councils have the capacity to effectively deliver the transferred service.  Recent capacity building initiatives will equip councillors with the knowledge and skills to carry out their new role and to have the confidence, as well as the competence, to make sound planning decisions from day one.’ 

View the press release

Minister Durkan’s speech on new powers for Council’s

View the legislation

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RTPI launches ‘general election online’ resource

With less than 100 days to go until the general election, The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has launched an online general election resource to provide information about manifesto policies affecting planning, the timeline for the general election and links to relevant information on their own positions and ‘asks’ for government.

View the resource, including information about the main parties

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Survey: Help assess attitudes to sexuality in construction

The trade publications Construction News, Architects’ Journal and New Civil Engineer are working together with Stonewall to launch a new survey which aims to assess and capture attitudes to sexuality within the construction sector.

The survey is anonymous, and the results will be published within the second quarter titles of each publication.

Take the survey

Read more about the survey background, in Construction News

Download information from Stonewall

IHBC newsblogs on equality and diversity

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War memorial conservation partnership: Civic Voice, EH etc.

A new joint project by English Heritage, Civic Voice, the Imperial War Museums and War Memorials Trust has been launched this week, aimed at helping people find out more about the care and conservation of war memorials and giving access to training and research opportunities as part of the commemorations of the centenary of the First World War. 

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) writes:
First World War Minister Helen Grant yesterday visited the Grade II listed Watford Peace Memorial and announced an ambitious four-year programme to create ukwarmemorials.org, a one stop shop for information on all UK war memorials along with where to go for advice and funding.  The move means local people will once again be at the heart of protecting and conserving war memorials.

Funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport from the fines paid by banks that attempted to manipulate the LIBOR, the initiative draws resources together from across the UK.  The website will allow easy access to what specialist organisations know about war memorials and tap into expert advice on how best to look after them. This includes how to get grants for conservation and how to get memorials listed. It will expand in stages over the next four years so that by the end of the project ukwarmemorials.org will be easily searchable, helping people track down historical information, listed status, condition and inscribed names.  The website will eventually cover war memorials commemorating all modern conflicts up to and including Afghanistan.

Visiting Watford Peace Memorial, successfully restored by the local community with a grant of almost £5000 from the War Memorials Trust, Helen Grant said: ‘After the First World War, war memorials were erected across the country in a huge wave of remembrance. They were and remain records of our nation’s sacrifice, our personal and collective memories carved in stone. Our part in this ongoing story is to learn, record, restore and protect them for the future.  Drawing attention to a series of new listings, from the Tintagel Cross War Memorial in Cornwall to the Alnmouth War Memorial in Northumberland, Helen Grant said: ‘I am delighted these monuments have been listed and protected. It is wonderful to see how deeply people care about their local history and want to preserve it.’

A partnership between English Heritage, Civic Voice, Imperial War Museums and War Memorials Trust has been set up to help communities discover, care and conserve their Local First World War memorials. The partnership was formed following the DCMS pledge of £4.5m in July 2014 towards war memorials as part of the activities to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.  Over the centenary programme the programme will deliver, funding to help local communities repair and conserve their war memorials, practical conservation training, hundreds of public workshops to encourage people to record and protect their local war memorials, and the listing of up to 500 memorials a year so their historical importance is recognised for years to come.

View the DCMS press release

View the war memorial conservation website

IHBC newsblogs on war memorials 

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Have your say: LG reforms in Wales

The Welsh Government are seeking views on local government reforms, and launched a consultation this week on the ‘Reforming Local Government’ White Paper, with the deadline for responses of 28 April. 

The Welsh Government writes
During a visit to the Gwent Archives yesterday, the Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews launched a White Paper setting out the terms of a new deal for Local Government in Wales.

Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People sets out the Welsh Government’s vision for the future of Local Government – one which is more inclusive and accountable, and which shares power and responsibility with the communities it serves.  The proposals put forward fundamental reforms that will ensure strong performance, robust democracy, good governance and effective delivery of key services such as education, social services, waste and planning.

The Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews said yesterday: ‘The Gwent Archives’ magnificent new facility in the General Offices of the former steelworks in Ebbw Vale holds the minutes from meetings of the Tredegar Workmen’s Medical Aid Society. They show Councillor Aneurin Bevan and his colleagues seeking to put in place co-operative health solutions for their local community.  Their recorded minutes are a reminder that at its best, Local Government in Wales has always had an activist nature, engaging co-operatively with local communities to find collective solutions.

‘We want all our Councils to be activist Councils, engaged in delivering modern, accessible, high quality public services with their communities.  In this White Paper, we set out the terms of a new deal for local government in Wales, one based on a smaller number of stronger councils, which will result in national government in Wales setting a small number of clear national priorities.

‘This is about reform not reorganisation. It is about rebuilding councils from the inside out, rebuilding trust and confidence in local government and a new relationship between Councils and the people they serve.  My role is to set the right framework to ensure local leadership can deliver for their communities. We will ensure value for money by cutting the cost of politics and management in local government, ensuring councillors reflect the diversity in their communities and ensuring the culture in local government is open to challenge and has involving and supporting its communities as its core value. This is about profound change in the way Councils work and deliver for their communities.  Our vision is for stronger, more representative Local Government delivering, and accountable for, quality local services which meet the needs of local communities.

‘The consultation opens today (3rd February) and will close on 28th April and I encourage anyone who would like their views known to engage in the process.’

The White Paper, an Everyday (Summary) and a Youth Friendly version of the White Paper can be accessed via the Welsh Government website.

Access the news release

View a summary of local government changes planned

View the consultation

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CLG Committee calls for clarity & more community rights

The CLG Commons Select Committee has called for changes to community powers, with more time for local people to acquire potential assets of community value, greater clarity over the ‘right to reclaim land’ powers and the integration of ‘right to build’ within the neighbourhood planning process.

A video featuring interviews with people who have been through the right to bid process, and views of members of the CLG committee has been posted online, together with minutes of the meeting and the full report of proceedings. The video includes footage of the first public house to be bought by local people using the community right to bid powers (The Ivy House in London).

View the CLG committee report and video

IHBC newsblogs on localism 

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Custom build your own home in Cornwall

The new ‘self build’ plots issued under Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) custom build regulations have been approved by planning, providing new affordable housing in Cornwall.

The HCA writes:
People can soon design their dream home at one of England’s biggest dedicated custom build sites after proposals to bring nearly 150 new and affordable homes to Cornwall were backed by planners.  Cornwall Council’s approval of Carillion-Igloo and Coastline Housing’s planning applications to build 144 homes beside the Heartlands regeneration project at Trevenson Park, Pool, enables construction work and marketing to start later this year.

The development includes 54 Custom Build plots, which will offer people from across Cornwall the chance to design and build their own home with a manufacturer chosen from Carillion-igloo’s specialist panel. This site is one of the Homes and Communities Agency’s biggest Custom Build projects and is set up by Government to boost house-building by unlocking a wave of new homes designed and built by their owners.

Coastline Housing will also develop 90 new and affordable homes, which includes a well-designed block of 23 flats for older people overlooking the Heartlands Park.  It is estimated that around 200 full time equivalent annual jobs will be created by the construction work, with the majority of jobs going to people who live in Cornwall.

HCA area manager Paul Britton said: ’This project clearly demonstrates one of the many approaches we are taking to provide more opportunities for people to get the homes they can afford in Cornwall.  Custom Build offers people a more accessible route onto the housing ladder whilst providing an opportunity for people to design the home of their dreams. We know there is high demand for more homes in Cornwall, which has a history of ‘self build’ housing. This scheme from Carillion-igloo and Coastline will make a positive contribution. I look forward to seeing the new homes come forward on this important and exciting site.’

Carillion-igloo head of custom build housing Jon Sawyer said: ‘Carillion-igloo are very excited about securing planning for 54 Custom Build homes in Cornwall, which is an important milestone for this project and the custom build housing sector as a whole. We are grateful for the support of our partners HCA and Coastline and the pragmatism of Cornwall Council in adopting a new approach to approving the appearance of homes, the first of its type in the UK. We will now be working hard to make the first serviced plots available in the spring and we aim to see the first custom build homes coming out of the ground by the end of 2015.’

Christine Coonan, Coastline Housing’s development manager, added: ‘We are very pleased to be able to provide a further 90 much needed homes in the centre of the Camborne-Pool-Redruth area. Our mix of rental and shared ownership properties will give many local people high quality homes at affordable cost.

It is expected that the plots will be made available to prospective buyers from next spring, with work on the affordable homes starting early next year.’

The HCA has recently launched a £150m loan fund for Custom Build projects which will provide finance for the development of serviced plots to support people who want to build their own home.

View the HCA press release

IHBC newsblogs on housing

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Have your say: THA’s HE consultation event

The Heritage Alliance (THA) is holding an event to discuss the changes to Historic England and ways in which more people can become involved in caring for heritage, to be held on 11 March in London, but please note that priority will be given to Alliance members

THA writes
From 1 April 2015, English Heritage becomes two organisations: the English Heritage charity which will manage the 400+ properties and Historic England which will retain the role of statutory advisor on the historic environment.  Historic England would like to involve more people in caring for our heritage and in understanding it, starting with very young children and including people who don’t have much to do with their historic environment at present.

The future Historic England would like to talk to Heritage Alliance members and the independent heritage sector about the best way to develop a new education and inclusion strategy. It would like to explore: what Historic England could most usefully do itself and how it could support and facilitate work across the sector.

The Heritage Alliance’s Inclusion and Learning Advocacy Group and the future Historic England Education team would therefore like to invite you to an open discussion from 1400-1630 on 11 March 2014 at the Churchill Room, Goodenough College, London.  The session will be chaired by David Souden, chair of the Inclusion and Learning Advocacy Group (and former Trustee) of The Heritage Alliance, and a director of the Heritage Education Trust.  Please come and let us know what you think, even if you are not an education specialist. We’re not looking for education and inclusion expertise as such, although of course we’d really like to hear about work your organisation is doing of has done in those areas.

To book your place, please visit The Heritage Alliance website  (Please note, priority will be given to Alliance members)

Information on THA inclusion and learning advocacy group

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Scots: 9 in 10 say historic buildings should be looked after

The results of a Scottish household survey on attendance and participation in cultural activities reveal a positive attitude towards the importance of historic buildings and cultural assets 

The Scottish Government writes:
A new survey shows nine in ten Scots agree heritage buildings and places should be well looked after – and nine in ten have taken part in cultural activities in the past year.

The figures, taken from the Scottish Household Survey 2013, show that people in Scotland are engaged in and value culture and heritage.  Nearly nine in ten (89 per cent) of adults agreed that ‘It is important to me that heritage buildings and places are well looked after’ – while only 3 per cent disagreed with the statement. And seven in ten (72 per cent) agreed that the heritage in their local area is well looked after.

Fifty seven per cent agreed that there are lots of opportunities to get involved in culture and the arts, with sixteen per cent disagreeing.   54 per cent of adults strongly agreed or tended to agree with the statement ‘Culture and the arts make a positive difference to my local area’, while 17 per cent disagreed with this statement.

The figures give further detail on the Scottish Household Survey, which showed nine in ten (91 per cent) of adults in Scotland engaged in culture in 2013. Four in five adults (80 per cent) attended a cultural event or place of culture and 78 per cent participated in a cultural activity in the previous 12 months.

However, 33 per cent of people in Scotland’s most deprived areas were more likely to agree that culture and the arts are ‘not really for people like me’ compared to 16 per cent in the least deprived areas.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: ‘These figures show the value the Scottish people place on culture and heritage, with nine in ten adults engaging in cultural activities in 2013, and the same number agreeing that it is important that our heritage buildings and places are well looked after. Culture underpins the very fabric of our national life as well as bringing wider social and economic benefits. These figures show that people across Scotland appreciate the value of culture and heritage.  Our new First Minister has set out her ‘One Scotland’ Programme for Government. This underlined the Government’s intentions about how we create a wealthier and more equal society. Tackling social justice and reducing inequalities in Scotland is one of our most important priorities, which is why we are pleased to work in partnership with bodies and agencies across Scotland because we know that culture and heritage have an important role to play. ‘

‘We are committed to protecting and promoting Scotland’s heritage and we have established Historic Environment Scotland as the new lead body to take forward the government’s contribution to delivering Scotland’s first national strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time, to ensure our diverse historic environment is understood, valued, cared for, protected, enjoyed and enhanced – now and for future generations. Our Place in Time, makes increasing participation in heritage a priority, especially among those who feel it is ‘not for me’ and there is a dedicated group established, with wide representation, to take this forward.

‘Our work with young people under the umbrella of Scotland’s youth arts strategy, Time To Shine, is similarly designed to ensure that no-one’s background is a barrier to taking part in cultural life. It is supported by initiatives including the Youth Music Initiative, and Cashback for Creativity.  Government funding helps to support programmes such as Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise Orchestras in Govanhill and Raploch; Get Scotland Dancing, which brought dance to 66,000 participants throughout Scotland; and Aspire Dundee, delivering cultural activities to 9 schools in the city. These are helping young people across Scotland to take part in the arts. Our primary route for this support is through our arts body, Creative Scotland which is tasked with delivery of Time To Shine.  Through all these activities, the Scottish Government is working to ensure that everyone in Scotland has an opportunity to access, enjoy and benefit from our culture and heritage. ‘

View the news release

Access the full survey

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Theatres Trust Small Grants announced for across UK

The most recent awards under the Theatres Trust Small Grants Scheme have been announced, with repair, restoration, access and improvement works being funded across the UK, including those to a grade II listed venue in Halifax and a category B theatre in Scotland.

The Theatres Trust writes:
The Theatres Trust is pleased to announce its sixth round of small capital grants to theatres.

Successful theatres in this round include the Category B-listed Burgh Hall in Dunoon in Scotland, the Little Angel Puppet Theatre in London, and local community theatre, the People’s Theatre in Newcastle.

Grants from the Trust’s Theatres Protection Fund Small Grants Scheme are awarded to:

  • Little Angel Theatre, London receives £3,700 towards its ‘Exterior Repair and Restoration’ project to undertake urgent repairs to its flat roof.
  • Actors Workshop Halifax receives £4,020 towards its ‘Urgent Roof Repairs’ project to repair and replace weather-damaged roof tiles and guttering.
  • Dunoon Burgh Hall in Scotland receives £5,000 towards its ‘Stage Lift’ project to install a low rise platform lift to allow fully disabled access to the stage.
  • People’s Theatre Newcastle receives £5,000 towards its ‘People’s Theatre Redevelopment’ project to improve its building services infrastructure in preparation for a redevelopment of the theatre.
  • Polka Theatre, London receives £5,000 towards its ‘Ventilation Upgrade’ project to replace air conditioning and heating units in its main theatre with more energy efficient models.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said: ‘This round marks the third year of our Small Grants Scheme with funds from our Theatres Protection Fund. Through the Scheme, The Theatres Trust has been able to financially assist 32 theatres with their capital projects including these five exceptional venues. We would not be able to do this without the generous donations of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Judy Craymer MBE to the Theatres Protection Fund and we continue to be grateful for their support.’

The Trust’s Small Grants Scheme helps theatres in need and at risk address urgent building repairs, improve their operational viability, introduce environmental improvements, and enhance physical accessibility.  We recommend that all applicants discuss any potential application with the Trust before submission. Trustees of The Theatres Trust will meet in June 2015 to consider further Small Grants Scheme awards. Deadline for Round 7 applications is 5pm Wednesday 27 May 2015.

View the press release from the Theatres Trust

View an article in ‘The Stage’ about the grants, with images of some of the awarded properties

Find out more about the Theatres Trust grants and previous awardees 

IHBC newsblogs on theatres

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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 ‘Diverse Doors Open Day’: Bristol 22 Feb

Members in the south west region and visitors to Bristol may be interested in a unique event being organised on 22 February: a ‘diverse doors open day’ where every faith in the city is offering architectural, cultural and spiritual tours of selected buildings across the city.

Find out more about the events

Download a trail leaflet 

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IHBC sponsors Place Alliance Big Meet 3 (BM3): 24 Feb

place alliance logo





The IHBC is delighted to sponsor the ‘Place Alliance’ Big Meet 3, supporting the sort of pan-sector partnership that was highlighted as being critical to progress by the Farrell Review under its leading ‘PLACE’ acronym: ‘Planning; Landscape; Architecture; Conservation; Engineering’.

IHBC Education Secretary David McDonald said: ‘The IHBC is delighted to be able to play such a positive enabling role in this critical new initiative that has arisen out of the Farrell Review.  As conservation is acknowledged by the Review as being central to the place management processes on which it focused, it is only right that, as IHBC is the UK’s lead conservation body for places, we should step forward with our support to help progress the kind supportive partnerships for which our heritage sector is especially well respected.’

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘As Big Meet 3 will be the forum where supporters of the Place Alliance can shape the evolving ‘statement of purpose’ document, as well as explore new advocacy and learning initiatives under way there, it is especially appropriate that we should do what we can to help this come together.’

Place Alliance writes:
We hope that you can join us for the ‘Big Meet 3: Place Alliance in 2015’ on 24 February, 11am to 3.30pm.

This is an interactive event presenting the first outputs from our collective efforts as a Place Alliance. It will give us the opportunity to reflect together on these and shape our future activities.

UCL, Gower Street, London
11-3.30pm, 24 February 2015, with a networking lunch
RSVP to placealliance@ucl.ac.uk


  • Update on the Place Alliance
  • Address from the Minister Ed Vaizey MP
  • Mapping Exercise Survey Results
  • Update on the Farrell Review
  • Workshop on ‘Allying to fill the gaps’
  • Workshop on ‘Reaching out through Place Talk’


A new movement
Brings together organisations and individuals who share a belief that the quality of the built environment – the places in which we live work and play – has a profound influence on people’s lives. We believe that through collaboration we can create and maintain better places. To this end, we share knowledge and support each other to demand and realize buildings, streets and spaces that enhance the quality of life for all.

Our vision is:

  1. That place quality has a value that is recognised by all
  2. That the quality of buildings, streets, and spaces is always given a high priority by those who have the power to shape them
  3. That national and local government recognises the vital contribution of the quality of place to the economic, social and cultural life of the nation and to achieving environmental sustainability
  4. That the professionals responsible for making and managing places, work constructively together and with local communities to shape high quality local environments.

Place quality refers to:

The recognisable and desirable qualities that the most successful parts of our villages, towns and cities share. They are: friendly (open, cherished and characterful); fair (inclusive, healthy and low impact); flourishing (adaptable, dynamic and diverse); fun (vibrant, playful and stimulating); and free (safe, accessible and democratic) (see Place Matters).

The Place Alliance aims to:

  • Inspire and raise aspirations for places.
  • Support dialogue and collaboration to improve place quality
  • Build and share evidence, knowledge and resources
  • Influence policy, practice and behaviour to achieve better place quality
  • Be open and accessible to all interested individuals and organisations.

More details will be posted on the IHBC’s website as arrangements evolve. 

For more background see IHBC Newsblogs

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