Scotland’s ‘Children’s Summit’ for community activism

Mike Russell, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, has announced a Children’s Summit which will aim to bring together young people to discuss the future of their communities. 

The Scottish Government writes:
Communities up and down the country have a role to play in truly making Scotland ‘the best place to grow up’.

Speaking at Education Scotland’s two-day Scottish Learning Festival at the SECC in Glasgow, Education Secretary Michael Russell announced that a Children and Young People’s Summit is to be held, to build on the ‘reaffirmed desire of millions of Scots to participate in democracy’.

Mr Russell said: ‘…we have to move forward involving the whole of Scotland in decision making, including decisions that will improve life for children and young people in our own communities and beyond. To help that process on, today I’m announcing a Children’s Summit for Scotland. Bringing together children, young people, those who support them and wider civic society, this gathering will, I hope, be the beginning of a process that will see a Children and Young People’s Conversation take place around the country – harnessing the renewed interest in positive, energising, consented improvement that we’ve seen over the last two years.’

‘The Scottish Government will convene the summit but the participants will determine the most effective way to involve interested citizens at grassroots level in improving services for children and young people. Ultimately the Children and Young People’s Conversation will inform Ministers and drive improvement in community services for children and young people.’

Scottish government press release 

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Theatres at Risk register published

The Theatres Trust published their latest Theatres at Risk register this month, with thirty-three properties deemed at risk throughout the UK.

The Theatres Trust writes:
The Grade II* former circus theatre, Brighton Hippodrome tops the thirty-three theatres on The Theatres Trust’s Theatre Buildings at Risk Register 2014, launched at the Theatre Royal, Brighton on 18 September. The annually published Register features the most ‘at risk’ theatre buildings across the UK under threat of demolition and redevelopment, theatres that lie abandoned, neglected and decaying, and theatres in use at risk of closure.

Brighton & Hove City Council has approved demolition and redevelopment plans for the Grade II* Brighton Hippodrome to create a cinema multiplex and restaurant. Designed by Frank Matcham the theatre is of national significance as one of only three remaining Victorian circus theatres in the UK.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said
‘The Theatre Buildings at Risk Register really raises awareness of the plight of many of our most threatened theatres. It makes people much more aware of the beautiful and much loved theatres that could be lost forever if action is not taken. This year we’ve reduced the number of theatres on the Register to focus on those that need time, resources, and investment if they are to be saved. The big question on the horizon is the extent to which more local authority cuts will lead to further closures. It’s certainly a very worrying trend. The Theatres Trust’s Advisers are working hard to help communities and local authorities find possible solutions.’

Three of the eight new theatres on the Register including the Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, and the Secombe Theatre, Sutton and Charles Cryer Studio Theatre, Carshalton, face closure by their Local Authorities unless a community solution can be found.

Four theatres are considered lost forever and removed from the Register. They include the RAF Brampton Theatre in Cambridgeshire. Although it is to be demolished, a replacement theatre is being planned. And following the welcome news that Theatre Hullabaloo has secured public funding to build a new children’s theatre in Darlington, its former home, Darlington Arts Centre is removed from the Theatre Buildings at Risk Register 2014.

Brighton Hippodrome ‘call in’ Update

Theatres at Risk register

IHBC NewsBlogs on historic theatres

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TCPA Garden Cities ‘Myth Buster’

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is asking political parties to be clear on their views regarding the delivery of new garden cities, and has issued a new publication and a series of fringe events to encourage further constructive discussions.

TCPA writes:
The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is calling for all three leading Westminster political parties to make a firm manifesto commitment to delivering new Garden Cities. Creating a new generation of Garden Cities presents significant opportunity to achieve beautiful, high quality and climate resilient places, which will form part of the portfolio of solutions to tackling the UK’s acute housing crisis.

Speaking in advance of the TCPA’s fringe event at the Conservative Party conference on Sunday evening, Kate Henderson said:  ‘For the first time in a generation, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition have recognised the huge opportunity that Garden Cities present, however we need brave political leadership in order to bring Garden Cities forward.  That is why we are calling on all three leading Westminster political parties to make a firm manifesto commitment to world class new communities.’

‘In supporting new Garden Cities the manifestos must also set out the Garden City principles to avoid accusations that Garden Cities are nothing more than just a political buzzword for large-scale housing estates.  Many of the Garden City ideals remain of critical relevance today, providing a foundation and an economy of scale for high quality, attractive and inclusive places, creating new jobs and truly sustainable lifestyles. Without the Garden City principles there is a risk that the manifestos will fail to build much needed consensus for high quality place-making.’

‘While the TCPA firmly believes new Garden Cities have a role to play, they must sit alongside investment and regeneration of our existing towns and cities. Regeneration remains a key priority and the TCPA has shown how the Garden City principles can also be applied to this task.’

As part of the ongoing campaign to bring forward a new generation of Garden Cities, the TCPA in partnership with Crest Nicholson plc, has published a myth buster which addresses the most common myths about Garden Cities, and explains the role they can play in helping address that nation’s acute housing crisis.

The myth-buster has been launched to coincide with the political party autumn conferences, where, in conjunction with Crest Nicholson and key speakers, the TCPA is holding a series of fringe events exploring Garden Cities, Housing and Planning.  The events will also be supported by the Lady Margaret Paterson Osborn Trust, and will seek to address what the Garden City Principles mean in the 21st century, and explore how they form an essential part of the portfolio of solutions to the country’s escalating housing crisis.

The fringe events will be held under the Homes for Britain banner at the party conferences.

IHBC NewsBlogs on garden cities 

TCPA article

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Cutbacks force Wakefield to sell 3m stately home

Wakefield Council is planning to sell a 17th century country house in a bid to deal with funding cutbacks.

LocalGov writes:
Woolley Hall, which has been owned by the local authority for the last 67 years, is being marketed at £3m. The council has to make savings of £185m over the next five years following Government cuts to its funding.

In recent years Woolley Hall has been run as a wedding and events venue. Cllr Graham Stokes, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for corporate performance, described Woolley Hall as ‘a wonderful building set in stunning grounds’.

He added: ‘The proceeds from the sale will be used to support the council’s capital investment plans across the district whilst it will also provide an annual budget saving to help us deal with the funding cuts imposed on us by the Government.’ 

UK Local Gov article

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Call for Entries: The Museum and Heritage Awards 2015

The Museum and Heritage Awards for Excellence are now open for entries, with a deadline of Friday 30 January 2015.

There are ten categories; those of particular interest to members may include ‘Restoration or Conservation’ and ‘Project on a Limited Budget’.

Museum & Heritage Awards and  2015 brochure and entry details

Other opportunities, awards bursaries and scholarship at IHBC awards

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IHBC launches new ‘mobile-first’ website

IHBC Website Home PageThe Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) has just launched its new ‘mobile first’ website, to ease access to its 30,000 or so web pages, designed especially to work across both mobile and desktop users, and while the look is entirely different the links remain much the same.

IHBC Communications Secretary Charles Strang said: ‘It is a real pleasure to see all this hard work by our staff and IT consultants coming to fruition in this entirely new-looking website.  No doubt it will take a little time for some members to get used to, but we know that this new format will make it much easier to access our familiar web-based resources while on the move – such as our NewsBlogs; Jobs etc.; Join and Branches.’

‘And as the panels can be changed, the layout can be used to highlight new resources to users, such as our recent online listing of some of the IHBC’s accredited members.’

‘But in the end it is the new mobile facility that is central to these changes.  That sort of flexibility is increasingly important to the vast majority of our current and coming members, whether young or old’.

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘This new site, with its ‘mobile-first’ design and function, will ensure that our members get the most helpful online service possible.  The new-look home page and links offer users a much more flexible route into our online resources, one of our key public services as a charity.’

‘The new design allows for more efficient information management across our online information resources, such as the NewsBlogs.  So it will also save on administration time, and help keep our member fees down.  Last but not least, it also eases the routes into our rapidly expanding social media operations, with twitter, Linkedin and even facebook only a ‘press’ away!  Do try it out!’

‘No doubt there will need to be some settling-in time though.  So if there are any pages you can’t access as easily as you’d wish, just let us know by emailing Joanna at and we’ll see what we can do.’

‘It’s worth noting too that the menus and lists from our old home page are continued across to the new site, with some of the redundant overlapping ironed out.  So there should be a lot of familiar territory once you get to the menu listing at the top of the page.’

‘However, in cleaning up the display of the home page, we know we have had to lose some information – such as the lists of bodies of which we are members.  Given the benefits of clarity and simplicity in the new design, we think we’ve achieved a good balance between old and new, as you’d expect in any good conservation exercise, which I’m sure many of our members will appreciate’.

The new site can be reached using our current website address:

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IHBC welcomes PLACE-inspired ‘Big Meet: Stage 2′

Following the July 2014 ‘Big Meet’, where cross sector representatives met as a response to the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment and its promotion of a PLACE-based link network, possibly modelled on the Heritage Alliance initiative or similar, a ‘Big Meet 2’ will take place on 2 October, with the IHBC in attendance and warmly welcoming the initiative.

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘We are delighted to welcome the opportunity to discuss the formation of the PLACE Alliance and to be able to offer some critical strategic input into the placemaking agenda arising from the Farrell review.’

‘The PLACE agenda links ‘Planning, Landscape, Architecture, Conservation and Engineering’, so clearly we were delighted that conservation rightly sits with the heart of convenient acronym.  Now we know it’s time for us to do more to progress that agenda, and the Big Meet 2 offers a perfect opportunity for us all to move forward together.’

The meeting will discuss options for the founding of the PLACE Alliance and ways in which it could operate, for example influencing national policy and encouraging public engagement. 

UCL – background to the meeting

Place Alliance discussion paper

Feedback report on Big Meet 1

IHBC newsblogs on the Farrell Review

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NI’s ‘urban stewardship’ first for UK

The Department of the Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI) has now published the ‘Living Places’ urban stewardship guide, a UK first.

DoENI writes:
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has today announced the publication of the UK’s first urban stewardship and design guide.

Traditionally stewardship, the way in which our urban places are managed and maintained, has been considered separately from the processes of planning and design. However, ‘Living Places’ for the first time treats urban stewardship and design with equal measure, owing to the contribution they both make to the quality of the urban environment and the role that we all as individuals have to play.

The final guide sets out the importance that both quality stewardship and design have in planning and the contribution they make to the quality of our villages, towns and cities.

Launching it at The Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts, Mark H Durkan said: ‘I encourage everyone with an interest in making successful places to use this guide to strive to create attractive, well maintained, well managed and well connected places that can have a positive impact on our lifestyles. Successful places will improve our health and well-being as well as reduce traffic, energy use and pollution.

‘This is an iconic step for planning in Northern Ireland which will help provide for a better environment, healthier society and a stronger economy where we live and work.’

Press release

Download the document

IHBC newsblogs on urban stewardship

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Anglo-Saxon rebuild

A reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village is to get a new house to replace one built 40 years ago.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is spending £20,000 on a replacement timber and thatch building at West Stow, Suffolk , which should take a couple of months to complete.


The reconstructions have been built on the site of a village which was believed to have existed from AD 420-650.


Search Planning Portal

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IHBC welcomes judicial review highlighting critical role of specialist advice

Consent has been quashed in a recent High Court decision when it was found that a council had failed to adequately take into account the expert statement from its conservation specialist.

IHBC President Trefor Thorpe said: ‘The Institute welcomes this finding by the High Court. It amplifies further a position that we consider both explicit and implicit in planning law: failure to accord sufficient weight to specialist advice places a local planning authority at risk of either an Ombudsman’s investigation of maladministration or, as here, expensive and damaging judicial review!’

Consent from Stratford On Avon District Council for a development of 9 dwellings at Tysoe, Stratford on Avon, has been overturned in the High Court as it determined – and the council agreed – that the council’s specialist conservation advice, which highlighted the harm to the significance of heritage assets, had not been adequately taken into account as material considerations.

The authority also failed to take into account the concerns of English Heritage, while a ‘procedural error’ by the council also had led to its failure to make the specialist heritage and landscape statements publicly available on the website.

The Council conceded that it had failed to properly exercise its duties under the 1990 Act by not giving appropriate weight to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting of listed buildings.

Examples of cases where councils have fallen foul of the law or the Ombudsman due to poor conservation management can be accessed on the Institute’s website

See IHBC’s statements on conservation skills, capacity and responsibilities in local authorities on the website

See the planning report 

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CAMRA in historic pub High Court listed building challenge

A public house in the Bradford City area which is of outstanding historic interest has been the subject of legal challenges by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

CAMRA writes:
A historic pub of national importance has been the subject of a landmark High Court battle between the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Bradford City Council.  CAMRA on two occasions has succeeded in getting the High Court to overrule the decisions of Bradford City Council to grant planning permission and listed building consent for alterations to The Cock and Bottle – in connection with its conversion to a restaurant – including the tearing out of most of the historic interior.

The Cock and Bottle in Bradford is a listed building with an interior of ‘outstanding historic interest’ according to leading pub heritage campaigners.

Dave Gamston, member of CAMRA’s national Pub Heritage Group and Editor of Yorkshire’s Real Heritage Pubs*, explains the building’s historical importance: ‘The Cock and Bottle pub in Bradford preserved one of the best and most intact Victorian pub interiors in the whole UK.  Its national importance was clearly recognised in its Grade II listing and in its inclusion as one of only 270 entries on CAMRA’s National Inventory of outstanding historic pub interiors. It really is a tragic loss.’

Taking the case to the initial Judicial Review was the first-ever such action by CAMRA. However, a second action was needed less than eight months later as planning permission and listed building consent was once again re-applied for and granted by Bradford City Council – prompting the second High Court battle.

‘This outcome corrects what was a truly shameful decision by Bradford’s planners and should send out a strong message to planning authorities across the country that protecting our important pub heritage is to be taken extremely seriously – and that CAMRA may now be less hesitant in calling them fully to account.  For the Cock & Bottle itself, though, the ruling is somewhat bittersweet as the pub’s owner had already jumped the gun and stripped out much of the interior – another wrong that still remains to be righted

Colin Valentine, CAMRA Chairman added: This is a landmark case of national importance and is an important step in our fight for the protection of Britain’s few remaining heritage pubs. Concerted action by CAMRA’s dedicated volunteers, and the subsequent case brought by CAMRA’s lawyers Susan Ring of Richard Buxton Solicitors and Richard Harwood QC, has challenged the illegal ripping-out of the pub’s listed interior and is another step forward to seeing public justice done.’ 

CAMRA’s campaign on heritage pubs

Telegraph article

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Local and central government least trusted by staff: ILM

Local and central government are the industries least trusted by their own staff, with ‘budget cuts and upheaval’ causing employee concern, claims a report by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

A survey of 1,600 UK managers by found just 10% of central and local government employees – including the police and fire service – had ‘high trust’ in their organisations – the number of positive opinions charted minus the negative. This compares to 32% in education and 34% in financial services, banking and insurance.

Only 29% of public sector managers are thought to have high levels of trust in their organisation, compared to 45% in the private sector and 46% in the third – according to The truth about trust.

Research suggests leader ‘openness’ was the highest driver of employee trust, followed by effective communication, the ability to make decisions and competence in their role.

‘Our research shows relatively low levels of employee trust across the public sector, which we believe is due to uncertainty following several years of budget cuts and upheaval. This challenge is by no means unique to the public sector – we also see a real opportunity for leaders to transform low trust across the financial services industries by building the open two-way relationships that enable high-performance workplaces,’ said Charles Elvin, CEO of the ILM.

‘It’s no surprise that those industries with the lowest trust levels internally are also among the least trusted by the general public. This suggests that the first step to building trust with consumers is to focus on gaining the trust of your most important stakeholders – your employees.

‘Trust is more than a nice-to-have, it is the lifeblood of sustainable organisational performance,’ he added. 

ILM report

UK Local Gov article

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New Chair sought for Theatres Trust

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is advertising for the appointment of a Chair for the Theatres Trust, with a closing date of 27 October and interviews on 8 December.

DCMS writes:
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is seeking to appoint an individual with the necessary blend of skills and experience as Chair of The Theatres Trust to succeed Rob Dickins CBE, whose term of office ends on 30 January 2015.

The Theatres Trust is The National Advisory Public Body for Theatres, established by The Theatres Trust Act 1976 and The Theatres Trust (Scotland) Act 1978 ‘to promote the better protection of theatres’ and has the powers to acquire or hold any theatre or land required for the benefit of any theatre, contribute to the acquisition of any theatre or land, and maintain or assist in the maintenance of any theatre.

Role of the Chair:

The Trust’s Chair promotes good governance by ensuring that the Council of Trustees effectively performs its principle tasks of:

  • Commenting on/approving policy matters, the Trust’s three year plan, and the content of its annual report.
  • Ensuring that proper financial, administrative and legal arrangements are in place.
  • Employing a Director with the authority to carry out the day-to-day management of the Trust’s affairs.

In addition, the Trust’s Chair shall:

  • Chair the meetings of the Council of Trustees, of its Annual General Meeting, and of the Annual General Meeting of the Trust’s Charitable Fund.
  • Act as the Trust’s principal representative in its relations with its key stake holders.
  • Play an active role in the appointment of trustees so as to ensure the balance of skills and experience necessary for the Trust to operate effectively. 

Essential Criteria:

  • Understanding of and commitment to promoting the aims and objectives of The Theatres Trust as the national advisory public body for theatres.
  • Recognition as an authority, advocate, and leader in the cultural sector or theatre industry, with strong personal and communication skills, allied to an ability to be objective, listen, inspire and motivate.
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of issues affecting theatres across the UK, and appreciation of their value in planning, regeneration and development, architecture and design, the environment and heritage.
  • Ability to promote sustainability and diversity, and to offer strategic guidance in support of the Trust’s executive while commanding the respect of key stakeholders.
  • Excellent record of governance and leadership in the cultural sector.


Information about the role, including skills and experiences sought, and how to apply can also be found at


If you have any questions about the role please contact: Mhora Samuel T: 020 7836 8591


If you have any questions about the Public Appointments Process please contact: Sujan Kareer T: 020 7211 2305


The closing date for applications is: Monday 27 October 2014
Interviews will be held on: 8 December 2014


Full details

IHBC newsblogs on historic theatres

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