Interiors: how many stages would it take to create William Morris wallpaper?

Artist Jeremy Deller has created a digital animation, showcased on the Guardian website, which details the 33 stages of creating a roll of William Morris wallpaper.

View the animation

IHBC newsblogs on historic interiors 

IHBC’s Context on historic interiors

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IHBC’s ‘Guest Blog’ for HTF Newsletter: On ‘docents’

In the Historic Towns Forum’s December Newsletter IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly outlines how the American volunteer training or ‘docent’ model might operate in UK heritage planning, outlining a scheme that has helped secure a £5000 research funding allocation in Oxford University to test the concept in real planning environments. 

Based on a presentation to an HTF Neighbourhood Planning event in Oxford, in the HTF Newsletter Sean O’Reilly suggests that: ‘A ‘game-changer’ in the planning process – particularly, but not only for heritage – would be offering wider support and public recognition for appropriately qualified, informed and skilled local volunteers working in and with the local community on planning-related matters.

Such skilled volunteers should be trained and overseen to an extent that would ensure that they could contribute to local planning processes to a standard supported and recognised by all players in development: local interests, public regulators and private developers.  That recognition would be underpinned by the collective understanding of their ability to represent local issues fairly, reasonably and with an informed awareness of how the planning system operates as a whole.’ 

For more details download the Newsletter from the HTF website

Research programme

For the HTF see

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‘Right to Light’ review published

The Law Commission has now published its final report with recommendations on reform into the ‘right for light’ affecting developments in England and Wales.

The Law Commission writes:
We commenced this project in March 2012 and published a consultation paper on 18 February 2013.  We have now published our final Report, Rights to Light (Law Com No 356), which contains our recommendations for reform.

Our key recommendations are:

  • a statutory notice procedure which would allow a landowners to require their neighbours to tell them within a specified time if they intend to seek an injunction to protect their right to light, or to lose the potential for that remedy to be granted;
  • a statutory test to clarify when courts may order damages to be paid rather than halting development or ordering demolition;
  • an updated version of the procedure that allows landowners to prevent their neighbours from acquiring rights to light by prescription;
  • amendment of the law governing where an unused right to light is treated as abandoned; and
  • a power for the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal to discharge or modify obsolete or unused rights to light. 

Press release and documentation 

IHBC newsblogs on Law Commission proposals

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Royal Assent for Wales Bill introduces ‘Welsh Government’

The Wales Bill 2014 has received Royal Assent, which introduces the Wales Act 2014, renames the ‘Welsh Assembly Government’ as the ‘Welsh Government’ and introduces new financial powers.

The Welsh Government writes:
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones has today welcomed the Wales Bill receiving Royal Assent. Now called the Wales Act 2014, it delivers new financial powers for Wales by:

  • enabling the National Assembly to develop Welsh taxes to replace UK stamp duty land tax and UK landfill tax;
  • allowing Welsh Ministers to borrow up to £500 million to invest in capital projects, with further borrowing of up to £500 million to manage short-term budget fluctuations arising from tax devolution;
  • establishing a mechanism to create new taxes on a case-by case basis; and
  • granting the Assembly the power to call a referendum on the introduction of a Welsh rate of income tax.

The Act also:

  • provides for Assembly elections to take place every five years, thereby avoiding future Assembly elections clashing with Westminster elections;
  • removes the restriction on standing as both a constituency and a regional candidate in an Assembly election, and provides that MPs are disqualified from being AMs;
  • renames the ‘Welsh Assembly Government’ as the ‘Welsh Government’; and
  • enables the Welsh Ministers to refer law reform proposals to the Law Commission directly. 

News release

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Are rural community needs being rejected?

The Rural Coalition has issued a call for rural priorities to be recognised by the next government in a document entitled ‘The Rural Challenge 2015’, focusing on the rural economy, affordable housing and access to essential services. 

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) writes:
With the autumn statement due to announce a ‘roads revolution’ and a focus on fracking, the priorities of rural communities risk being sidelined, says Lord Robin Teverson, Chair of the Rural Coalition.

Calling for recognition of the national importance of the countryside and our rural communities, the Rural Coalition is today (3 December) urging Government to address three core areas to support them: the rural economy, affordable housing, and health and social care services. The Rural Challenge 2015 outlines a new set of rural priorities for the next Government. 

Lord Teverson adds: ‘In the build-up to the 2015 general election, we want to make the case for a healthy and flourishing countryside. Despite the enormous environmental, social and economic contribution that rural areas make to this country, they are in danger of being overlooked on key issues like housing, health and economic growth. That is why we are following up our 2010 report with a new Rural Challenge that asks the next government to do more to address rural concerns.

‘With demands for essential services increasing, as well as calls for more housing, it is vital that the needs of rural populations are considered alongside those in urban areas. Last year, 486,000 rural businesses had a combined turnover of £369 billion. It is time that the contribution of rural areas is formally recognised by integrating rural considerations more effectively in national policy.’

Acknowledging the difficulties facing rural populations in maintaining essential services, the Rural Challenge 2015 shows how, despite contributing 31% of Gross Value Added, rural areas are often overlooked in national policy. The Rural Coalition believes it is crucial that central Government retains the capacity to properly assess the impact of all policies on rural communities.

Despite recent moves by government to devolve decision-making powers away from Westminster, such as the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships, rural economies remain vulnerable and are often overlooked in national and regional policies. The Rural Coalition is calling for a greater acknowledgement of the role of rural areas, and a commitment to supporting rural business by rolling out high speed broadband and encouraging small enterprises.  At the same time, those on lower incomes are being squeezed out of the rural housing market, leading to a talent drain from rural areas and difficulties for local businesses and services. To help counteract this trend, the Rural Coalition advocates a number of measures, including targets for affordable housing in small communities and more flexible public investment.

Against a backdrop of the increasing cost of public service delivery and growing numbers of elderly residents, the Rural Coalition is also calling for greater coordination of health provisions and improved systems of funding to ensure better access for those in isolated communities. 

Press release

Download ‘The Rural Challenge 2015’ 

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New Garden City Proposal for Cardiff

Plans for a £2 billion and 7000 home development forming a new garden city (Plasdwr, meaning waterfall) have been launched in Cardiff by developer Redrow Homes. 

View the Plasdwr Garden City

Plasdwr developer articles ‘Garden City Proposed for Cardiff’

Wales Online articles:

Revealed: 7,000 home garden city project planned on 900 acres of land in north west Cardiff’

Cardiff ‘garden city‘ plan of 7,000 homes blasted by councillors warning of transport chaos if 900-acre development goes ahead’

IHBC newsblog on garden cities

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Research Excellence Framework results update for the HE

IHBC members with an interest in Historic Environment (HE) research and education will be particularly interested in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results assessing the quality of research in HE throughout the UK.

View the results for different units of assessment:

IHBC newsblogs on education

IHBC recognised courses

IHBC learning pages

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DoENI Renewable Energy Planning Stats & ‘Heat Initiative’

The Department for the Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI) has released statistics showing approval rates and the number of renewable energy applications received in the most recent quarter, and launched a new financial support scheme for switching to renewable energy this week, entitled the Renewable Heat Initiative.

The DoENI writes:
If you want to switch from a conventional heating system to using a renewable heating source, you can get long-term financial support. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme is open to both non-domestic and domestic properties. 

All households are encouraged to consider the advantages of switching to a renewable heating source.

Renewable heating sources include biomass (wood, straw, poultry litter or energy crops), heat pumps and solar thermal.  If switching for your home, you’ll be able to get upfront assistance plus an annual payment over a seven-year period.  The scheme will also support installations commissioned since 1 September 2010.

News release

More information on the initiative

DoENI guide to renewables

DoENI announcement in reduction of renewable energy applications (July to November 2014 quarter)

IHBC newsblog on renewables

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CIfA launched

The Chartered Institute of Archaeologists (CIfA) was formally launched during an event held at the Museum of London on 9 December.

Heritage Alliance writes:
CIfA is the leading professional body representing archaeology in the UK and its successful application for Chartered status, winning an order of grant from the Privy Council in February 2014 and the Charter itself in June, provides recognition from the state that the profession of archaeology is working in the interests of the public.

The CIfA hopes that becoming a chartered institute will significantly raise its profile and that of the archaeological profession, while bringing them a step closer to other chartered professions such as architects, planners, surveyors and engineers etc.

Peter Hinton, Chief Executive commented: ‘As we approach the midway point in our Strategic Plan, the launch of CIfA provides a strong assurance to members that the Institute is heading in the right direction.  CIfA will continue to promote professionalism in archaeology and pursue our ambitious strategic aim.’

‘Becoming Chartered has increased the influence of the Institute, which will greatly help us meet that aim.’

For the CIfA see and the Charter

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World Monuments Watch – Call for Nominations open

The World Monuments Watch have launched their latest call for nominations, with a closing date of 1 March.

World Monuments Fund launched the Watch in 1996 to bring international attention and secure financial support for heritage sites at risk across the globe.

WMF’s biennial advocacy campaign is now in its 10th cycle, and to date has included nearly 700 sites on all seven continents that face a diverse range of issues such as neglect, vandalism, conflict or disaster. Watch listing provides an opportunity for sites and their nominators to raise public awareness, foster local participation, secure valuable partnerships and instigate positive change. Past UK sites have included Stowe House, Gorton Monastery, Strawberry Hill and Coventry Cathedral.

Submitting a nomination is a two-step process.  Anyone interested in submitting a nomination to the 2016 Watch should fill out the initial inquiry form to be found on our website A username and password for accessing the secure online nomination form are then provided.  All nominations must be submitted through the online process.  If a nominator cannot do so, he/she should contact WMF’s New York office directly at

The deadline for nominations is 1st March 2015.  The timetable beyond this point consists of a period of reviewing the submissions which takes place between March and September 2015, with the final selection and press announcements anticipated in October 2015.

For more information please contact WMF Britain’s Project Manager Melissa Marshall ( Project and Publicity Officer Sophie Buchanan (, 0207 251 8142.

Nomination guidelines

Initial inquiry form


IHBC newsblogs on world monuments fund


Further details at LINK

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New chair for BRE

The new chair of BRE has been appointed, James Wates CBE, taking over from Sir Neville Simms.

BRE writes:
Chairman of Wates Group, James Wates CBE has been appointed as Chairman of the BRE Trust the UK’s largest charity dedicated to advancing knowledge and education on the built environment for public benefit. He takes over from Sir Neville Simms who has been in the role since 2005.

CEO of BRE Group Dr Peter Bonfield said ‘James, like his predecessor Sir Neville, is a highly respected and influential figure in our industry. He understands the challenges faced by the sector and the key role that research and science can play in helping us meet them. We look forward to a new era of leadership and strategic direction for the BRE Trust.’

Along with his role at Wates Group, James is also Chairman of Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) where his remit is to encourage new talent into construction with stimulating skills training programmes and initiatives. He is also Chairman of the UK Contractors Group (UKCG), the primary association for contractors and their supply chain partners in the UK.  Members account for a third of construction output in the UK, advocating safe, ethical and sustainable practices in the sector.

Speaking about his appointment, James said ’This role with the BRE Trust is a great opportunity to connect the research and science outputs of the charity with the skills agenda of CITB  and the construction delivery and supply chain through UKCG. Our industry is growing but we have fewer resources to work with, we have a significant skills gap and we continue to be challenged by carbon reduction and climate adaption – innovation underpinned by science is the key and this is what the Trust does so effectively.

Peter Bonfield concluded ‘I would like to thank Sir Neville for his magnificent contribution to the BRE Trust. As well as giving us the benefit of his great experience as a captain of industry, he has been instrumental in the creation of the Trust’s five University Centres of Excellence in Bath, Cardiff, Brasilia, Strathclyde and Edinburgh who are conducting world class built environment research in key areas like energy, fire and security, sustainable materials and social cohesion. The centres collectively have 150 staff, 140 studentships and a collective research portfolio of over £60m.’

View the BRE press release

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Islington Council in ‘Buy to Leave’ planning policy first

A London Council could be implementing a first in the policy world as proposals to prevent people purchasing housing as an investment and then leaving them empty (dubbed ‘buy to leave’) are to be consulted on 

Islington Council writes:
Islington Council is to consult on pioneering planning policies that would require new homes to be regularly occupied – in an attempt to halt the rise of so-called ‘buy-to-leave’ properties in the borough.  Islington has seen an increase in ‘buy-to-leave’ properties – new homes sold as investments, often marketed off-plan overseas, and left to stand empty – especially in the south of Islington near the City.

According to council research, as many as a third or more of homes in some new developments are potentially vacant.  The council is concerned that empty new homes are ‘wasted supply’, making no contribution to meeting Islington’s need for new places to live.  Following initial consultation earlier this year, the council has now set out draft planning measures that would stop new homes standing empty and becoming ‘wasted supply’ – requiring that owners of new properties make sure they are occupied. The draft measures represent the first time a local authority has tried to tackle ‘buy-to-leave’ using planning powers.

Under the proposals, new homes could not be left unoccupied or unused for longer than three months, and would have to be occupied for at least 14 days in any three-month period.  If a property is left unoccupied for more than three months, the council would be able to take legal action such as seeking an injunction from the High Court against the owner.  Persistently breaking the injunction could lead to a fine, prison and even seizure of the empty property.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: ‘In Islington, as across London, there is a desperate shortage of housing. It’s wrong when new homes sit there empty purely as investments, when Londoners are desperately trying to find somewhere to live.  Our new proposals would make sure that all new homes in Islington are occupied – we want to send a message that ‘buy-to-leave’ is unacceptable.’

The new planning proposals would not affect existing homes, but would be applied to new properties.  Consultation on the proposal launches on Monday December 8 and runs until Friday 30 January 2015. 

View the press releases

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Creative & Cultural Skills Awards 2015: Celebrate unsung heroes

Nominations for the Creative & Cultural Skills (CCS) Awards 2015 are now open, celebrating exemplary individuals, organisations, apprentices and interns in the creative and cultural industries, with a closing date of 9 January.

CCS writes:
The Creative & Cultural Skills Awards recognise those who have demonstrated a commitment to passing on skills and improving routes into work for young people.

Deadline for all nominations is 5pm on Friday 9 January 2015.

Awards will be made in the following categories:

  • The Design Skills Award
  • The Music Skills Award
  • The Craft Skills Award
  • The Jewellery Skills Award
  • The Cultural Heritage Skills Award
  • The Theatre Skills Award
  • The Training Provider of the Year Award
  • The Apprentice of the Year Award
  • The Intern of the Year Award

Six sector-specific awards will recognise individuals who have shown an outstanding commitment to passing on and developing creative skills, and who make a difference to the lives of young people entering the creative industries.  These could be:

  • Mentors
  • Managers
  • Tutors
  • Facilitators
  • Course Leaders

The Training Provider of the Year Award will celebrate a business or education institution which has demonstrated an innovative approach to developing creative talent.

The Apprentice of the Year Award and The Intern of the Year Award are particularly prestigious honours.The awards will recognise two young people from across the creative sector who have demonstrated the ambition and talent to make a real difference in his or her workplace.

Nominees must be a current apprentice or paid intern, or must have completed their apprenticeship or internship after 5 March 2014.

further details…

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‘LETS it go’! A timely update from IHBC’s LETS Liaison Officer

Domed Ceiling

Image by Kate Kendall

As she heads into a much deserved Christmas break, Kate Kendall, IHBC’s LETS (Learning Education Training and Standards) Liaison Officer offers our members a short reminder of just what has been happening with her role since she started up in September.

Kate writes:
After almost 4 months in my new part-time post, it’s been a whirlwind start to the job. I’ve had the opportunity to go to some great places and meet the lovely people who are the members of the IHBC and make up the wider heritage sector.

The Branches I have had chance to get out and visit so far have made me welcome including; West Midlands, Wales, South, South East, Northern Ireland and my home patch in the North West. I’ve also attended various Committee meetings, the Branch and Course Connection Days in Birmingham and finally Council in December.

In September West Midlands welcomed me to Leominster and subsequently Worcester, the location for the 2016 Annual School. I made the trip to Cardiff in early October to assist the Branch with the affiliates seminar, the first, in my new role, of more to come. South East Branch were Farnham based for their annual conference which included an afternoon of site visits in the town including the castle which provided some great views in the late autumn sunshine.  South Branch hosted their wittily but very interesting day conference ‘Tales of the unexpected’, dealing with disaster in Winchester in October. This was preceded in Liverpool by the North West Branch’s equally humorous title of ‘I can see clearly now’ considering the setting of heritage assets. All the Branches had great attendance and provided me with the opportunity to meet with members and colleagues.

One of my key tasks has been in supporting Northern Ireland Branch’s renaissance. The new Branch committee was welcomed in mid November at the AGM at Clifton House in Belfast. We were joined by a good turn out of members and hopefully soon to be members to wish the new committee well. They have had their first committee meeting making plans for the forthcoming year’s events. The first of which will be an affiliates and non-members support seminar to provide advice and guidance on the full application process.

I’ve also been out and about reinforcing our links with the AABC, SPAB and NHTG to name a few. I was asked to speak at the NHTG seminar discussing the importance of the links between the professional practitioners and vitally important crafts persons within the sector. This and other events have provided opportunities for the IHBC to spread the word about what we do and encourage new members to join us.

I feel like I’ve been everywhere in a very short space of time however this is not true as there are a number of Branches I have yet to visit. It’s just not been possible but I am hopeful to get out and about to all the regions by the spring. I am looking forward to heading up North, Eastwards and South Westwards in the New Year. So far in the diary is a trip to the other side of the Pennines, Yorkshire Branch to assist with their membership support seminar. I’m also heading to the North, bound for Newcastle to attend their seminar in March. I’d be happy to assist and facilitate similar events in any of the other regions. I will be in touch but please do let me know when Branches will be meeting and any events you may be hosting. 

Background on Kate’s role 

IHBC Branches info

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