CCT support new research into damp

New research is to be carried out into the conservation issues for church towers, in a new studentship launched through a three university partnership with English Heritage and the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT). 

CCT writes:
The CCT is proud to announce that we will be supporting a 4-year postgraduate student study into preventing damp.  Lucie Fusade will focus on the Chruch of St. Michael and All Angels in Princetown, Devon, while she undertakes formal study at University College London and the University of Oxford.

The new studentship has been joint-funded by English Heritage Buildings Conservation and Research Team and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to explore damp in church towers.  Many historic buildings in exposed locations such as the south west of England suffer from damp problems caused by driving rain which can be complex to manage and solve.  Tall buildings or those on elevated sites are particularly vulnerable.  English Heritage has already carried out extensive research on these problems in the form of the ‘Damp Towers’ project which provides the starting point for this studentship.

The programme is administered by the centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology a joint programme between University College London, the University of Oxford and University of Brighton.

The Damp Towers project looked at grouting and rendering as potential solutions, but did not evaluate the potential role of pointing mortars.  The specific topic of the studentship leads on from this earlier research, and is ‘Mortars for controlling moisture problems in damp towers’.  It focuses on two broad research questions:

1.   How does driving rain interact with different repointing mortars?

2.   How can we improve knowledge, skills and practice to maximise the performance of good repointing mortars?

Heady stuff!  But we are certain that Lucie will be up to the challenge.   The Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Princetown is a striking building in the middle of Dartmoor.  It stands 1,430 feet above sea level, and is exposed on all sides to high winds and twice the national average rainfall.  The tower is currently host to ferns and algae that thrive on moisture and threaten the structure.  Lucie’s research will help us to protect not only this church but those across our estate that face damp problems.  This research will provide valuable learning to the broader conservation sector.

EH Damp Towers Project

IHBC newsblogs on damp issues  

View the news release

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London’s Elephant and Castle Proposals

Following a public consultation period, Transport for London (TfL) have revealed that 80% of respondents supported the changes proposed at the capital’s famous interchange, and are to move forward with plans to transform the public realm of this area of the City.

TfL writes:
One of London’s biggest regeneration projects is planned for the Elephant & Castle.

We’re developing plans to transform this vital transport interchange and in the spring of 2014 we sought your views on our proposals.

Over 80 per cent of members of the public who responded to the consultation stated they supported the key elements of the design and 53 per cent supported Option B (34 per cent supported Option A and 13 per cent did not answer the question).

Concerns were raised over the impact of the changes on all users including cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, bus users and also people interchanging with other public transport modes.

After carefully considering all of the feedback received, we have made the decision to proceed with the scheme. This will include taking forward the design for northbound off-carriageway cycling provision along the Elephant & Castle Link Road as outlined in Option B. However, following feedback from the consultation and further traffic modelling, we will be making a number of modifications to the design.

Section 2.2 of the consultation responses report highlights the opportunity for regeneration created by the transportation changes:

‘An engaging and usable space will be developed which will facilitate local vitality, enhancing the area as a destination in conjunction with planned growth in the area. The peninsula can become a focal point of the community, developing as a place in its own right whilst also enhancing the existing interchange function’

View the TfL summary of the proposals and consultation responses

View the original consultation leaflet including artist impressions of the work

View the consultation report 

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Oldest outdoor baths in the UK  (GII*) to reopen

A Grade II* Georgian Lido has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and work is now underway to restore the outdoor bathing facilities (which are laid out in the shape of a miniature Georgian Crescent) to full use. 

HLF writes:
The oldest surviving open-air swimming baths in the UK are set to be fully restored and reopened to the public, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Grade II* listed Cleveland Pools, a 200-year old Georgian lido in the historic city of Bath, has secured earmarked funding of £4.1million including a development grant of £366,200, it was announced today.

Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who has been a long-time supporter and ambassador for the project, said: ‘This is such good news. After hard work and sheer perseverance by the trust and its advisers it’s looking like we will have a magnificent and unique pool in Bath that we can all enjoy for a proper outdoor swim.’

The pools first opened in 1815 following the Bathwick Water Act which prohibited nude bathing in the river. Laid out in the shape of a miniature Georgian crescent, the site includes two bathing pools, the original changing rooms and a private ladies pool. They are one of only a small number of pre-Victorian sporting buildings to survive nationally and are thought to be the oldest swimming baths of its type in Western Europe.

The site closed to the public in 1978 and, after finally closing altogether in 1984, was briefly used as a trout farm. It has since deteriorated but although on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register, the main features remain remarkably intact.

The restoration project, run by community group The Cleveland Pools trust, will conserve the Georgian features and upgrade the facilities to allow for year-round swimming and other activities. When complete, the site will include a 25-metre swimming pool, children’s splash area, pavilion and café. The pools will be naturally treated and heated using the latest technology.

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: ‘There’s nothing quite like swimming in the great outdoors, and it’s something which so many of us really enjoy, whatever our age. Cleveland Pools are believed to be the oldest surviving example of a public swimming pool in England. They have a fantastic story behind them that provides a glimpse into how our ancestors spent their leisure time, and we’re delighted to support this important project.’

Ann Dunlop, Chairman of the Cleveland Pools Trust, said: ‘The trust and its many supporters will be over the moon that our campaign to keep the pools in the public eye, while developing a sustainable plan working with experts from both English Heritage and The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, has finally got the green light from HLF. The success of our bid is all the more remarkable given that we are all volunteers with no paid staff.’

The HLF grant will cover 85% of the total costs. Bath and North-East Somerset Council, who own the site, have pledged £200,000 towards the project. The trust are now looking to secure the remaining money and are hoping that people will be moved to donate to make the project a reality.

Expert advice has been provided by English Heritage and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted with this news. It’s a momentous step forward for Cleveland Pools after years of hard work by everyone involved. In the current hot weather the cooling waters of the Cleveland Pools would be a popular and attractive asset for everyone in Bath. We are now finally near to making that happen.’

‘We would like to thank HLF for their tremendous support and investment in Cleveland Pools.’

View the news article 

IHBC newsblogs on Lido’s

IHBC newsblogs on funding and grants

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HCA: New town plans move closer

Plans for the centre of Northstowe new town have now been submitted to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). 

HCA writes:
The largest new planned town since Milton Keynes reaches another major milestone today as outline plans for the ‘heart’ of Northstowe including the town centre, secondary school, two primary schools and approximately 3,500 new homes as well as new roads, employment and recreational areas are submitted by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to the planning authority.

The largest new planned town since Milton Keynes reaches another major milestone today as outline plans for the ‘heart’ of Northstowe including the town centre, secondary school, two primary schools and approximately 3,500 new homes as well as new roads, employment and recreational areas are submitted by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to the planning authority.

The submission of the outline planning application for the second major phase of development follows extensive public consultation on the proposals in spring of this year by the HCA.  It is also hot-on-the-heels of outline planning consent being approved in April 2014 for the first phase of 1500 new homes, a primary school, a sports hub, a local centre with shops and community uses and a site for a Household Recycling Centre.

Paul Kitson, Senior Project Manager at the HCA for Northstowe says: ‘Things are definitely happening at Northstowe.  We want to make sure the foundations are laid for a solid community to develop.  As part of this we have adopted a ‘phased’ approach to development where facilities and road improvements are built hand-in-hand at each stage with new homes.  The outline plans submitted today are further proof of that and, if approved, we look forward to working with local communities to develop further details to these outline plans.’

‘The responses from the consultation in spring raised both challenges for us to look at further and also gave us confidence that our plans were along the right lines.  We will of course continue to make ourselves available to support the local authority partners through their formal and statutory consultation process as necessary with technical advice should local people have further questions that need answering.’

Preparatory work has recently started at Northstowe for the first primary school and first phase of new homes.  Gallagher Estates are responsible for the first phase of development at Northstowe.

Alan Joyner, Executive Director of Gallagher Estates says:
‘This planning application complements phase one and we are pleased that it includes the secondary school, additional primary schools, town centre, sports and community facilities which will create the next stage of a comprehensive overall development for a thriving new community. Northstowe will become an attractive destination for investment in homes, employment and leisure activities.’

The HCA is the public body responsible for developing government-owned land, which includes the old airfield part of Northstowe.  The outline planning application for this next phase of plans includes:

  • approximately 3,500 new homes
  • two primary schools, and a secondary school
  • the town centre including an employment area
  • significant recreation space and landscaped areas
  • a new ‘eastern’ sports hub
  • the remaining part of the ‘western’ sports hub (being built along with the new homes on the first phase)
  • A detailed plan for a road extending out of phase two to the south, linking buses to the guided busway and cars to another new road which heads west to join the B1050 at the A14

The phase two proposals will also include two new large flood attenuation ponds to hold surface water from Northstowe as well as detailed drainage plans to deal with the water from the site.

When complete, Northstowe will have up to 10,000 new homes and an anticipated population of around 24,400 people. It already benefits from a guided busway which runs alongside the development, and it will feature high quality transport links offering quick connections to the towns of Cambridge and St Ives, a secondary school operated by Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, and a vibrant town centre, all offering plenty of employment opportunities for local people.

Preparatory work has started at Northstowe and the first homes could be sold and occupied as early as spring 2016.

Paul Kitson adds: ‘The phase two planning application will now be checked and validated over the next couple of weeks by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning department before the documents can be made available on their website and a formal consultation carried out by the Council in the Autumn.’

IHBC newsblogs on new towns

HCA article

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Scotland: Community energy consultation & £20m Energy Fund

The Scottish Government have launched a new funding initiative for community renewable energy to assist in setting up pilot schemes for locally owned projects, and has issued a consultation on the new Community Energy Policy Statement, with a closing date for responses of 10 November 2014. 

The Scottish Government writes:
Community partners will be able to bid to be part of a new £20 million local energy challenge fund, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today.

The First Minister said the fund will help reshape how energy is delivered and used in communities throughout the country, confirming Scotland’s position as a global leader in renewables and low carbon development.

Mr Salmond was speaking ahead of today’s cabinet meeting in Arbroath, the final meeting before next month’s referendum.

From today (August 18), local partnerships including community groups, charities, local authorities, housing associations, universities and businesses can apply to set up low-carbon energy pilot projects in their areas, through the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Local Energy Challenge Fund.

The Scottish Government’s target is to see 500 MW of renewables in the community and locally-owned by 2020. The Fraser of Allander Institute has now estimated that this target will be worth up to £2.2 billion over the lifetime of associated projects.

The new fund coincides with the launch of the Community Energy Policy Statement (CEPS) which sets out the Scottish Government’s record of support for community energy and new ambition for holistic local energy solutions. Members of the public and other interested parties will be asked to put forward their views on the statement during a 12-week consultation period. 

The Local Energy Fund website

Community Energy Fund policy draft

Details of how to respond to the consultation

IHBC newsblogs on energy

Scottish Goverment article

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Community Archaeology success for Wallsend

Volunteers working on a community archaeology project in the North East of England have discovered significant remains of a Roman Bath House.

Wallquest writes:
WallQuest volunteers have scored a bullseye and struck Segedunum’s long lost baths at the first attempt!

First indications are that the baths were built to a standard plan found at the Hadrian’s Wall forts of Benwell, Chesters, Carrawburgh and Bewcastle which shows that the baths are of Hadrianic date (AD 120s), though, they were used and modified for at least 150 years. Keep checking our website and social media for the latest developments as we uncover this fascinating site.

View more details of the WallQuest Project

Hadrian’s Wallquest article

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IHBC’s new LETS Liaison Officer: Kate Kendall IHBC

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) the UK’s professional body for built and historic environment conservation specialists, is delighted to announce the appointment of Kate Kendall IHBC as its first ’Learning, Education, Training & Standards’ (LETS) Liaison Officer, charged with supporting the institute’s extensive voluntary network in its organization, development and delivery of our UK-wide programme of training events.

IHBC Chair Mike Brown, said: ‘It’s great to have Kate on board doing this very important role for the Branches and Members.  I look forward to working with her and I know she’ll make a major difference’.

Kate Kendall, who has an extensive body of volunteer and professional experience in conservation and conservation-related training and events management, said: ‘As a member of the IHBC when I heard about the new LETS post I was really pleased to hear that the organisation was in a position to employ another member of staff. Additional capacity enables the IHBC to build on the positive work of the Institute taking it from strength to strength. So I was delighted to be offered the role and be part of the future of the IHBC as it continues to grow.’

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘Kate’s appointment represents a critical investment of resources directly into the heart of the IHBC, our volunteers and members, and takes place at a critical juncture, as we launch our wider programme of support for members and applicants.’

‘This initiative will ensure that IHBC’s fee-paying members – whether accredited with us or not – will continue to get the best value from their fees and the IHBC’s hard work.  This appointment will also extend our wider charitable activities serving the public interest in heritage, a concern that lies at the heart of the conservation activities of our members.’

‘So Kate‘s arrival will add huge value to what is already happening through our members and volunteers, not least by extending the reach and profile of our active network.  And with her wide-ranging experience in conservation, Kate will also be able to add critical capacity to national office that helps all our work keep ticking over’.

See Kate’s Linkedin page

For the announcement of the appointment see IHBC Newsblog 

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Solar farm community proposal for UK’s first AONB fails

A community group bidding to build a five-acre solar farm on Swansea’s Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has failed.

The BBC writes:
Gower Power Cooperative had asked to install 4,000 panels on a 15-acre (six hectare) site on the Gower peninsula.

Planning officers had recommended approval on the basis there would be ‘no significant visual impact’.

But after 27 people wrote letters objecting to the plans, the application was rejected.

BBC Wales news 

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Premium post-codes revealed

The most desirable postcodes in England, Scotland and Wales have been revealed by Royal Mail.

The firm evaluated the employment opportunities, quality of health and education, crime rates and housing affordability of areas across Britain.

The garrison town of Tidworth, in Wiltshire – postcode SP9 – was crowned the best place to live in England.

G44, on Glasgow’s south-side, topped the Scottish table, while LL78, Brynteg on the Isle of Anglesey, won for Wales.

The study, carried out to mark the 40th anniversary of the postcode, was conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR).

Read the Royal Mail news release

Search Planning Portal

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Opportunities: HLF Committee Members

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has vacancies for committee members across four of their regions and are seeking applications from suitable candidates. 

HLF writes:
Are you interested in making a lasting difference for the UK’s heritage and people? We are currently looking for four committee members in Northern Ireland, at least one in Wales, one in the East Midlands and one in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Our committees meet four times a year and take decisions on requests between £100,000 and £2million. They also provide crucial local perspectives and a steer on priorities for larger grants and targeted initiative decisions which come before the UK Board. Members will have opportunities to meet inspiring people involved in projects and will also represent the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) at openings and events, acting as a champion for the value of heritage to modern life.

Individuals need to have a broad appreciation of heritage and a commitment to promoting public understanding and enjoyment of it to the widest possible audience. We are keen applicants demonstrate a thorough knowledge of local issues and an understanding of project development and delivery. We also require an ability to think strategically and to demonstrate good communication skills.

We are keen to receive applications from people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who can demonstrate an affinity for a country or region’s diverse heritage. We welcome applications from individuals with experience of engaging Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and/or individuals with disabilities and/or young people in delivering projects or services. 

View details of the positions and how to apply

Other awards and opportunities

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Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful: Environmental Grants available

New funding has been made available from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful to help communities carry out environmental improvement projects, with a deadline of 22 September for applications.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful writes:
A new grants scheme aimed at helping volunteers to take practical action to improve their local environment and support the growth of civic pride is being launched today by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

The environmental charity will be working with the Department of the Environment, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and eleven local Councils to launch the ‘Live Here, Love Here’ small grants scheme which is designed to tackle issues such as poor environmental quality, littering and dilapidation particularly in coastal areas, by encouraging volunteers to take practical action in their local communities.

The scheme forms part of the wider ‘Live Here, Love Here’ programme, which includes an innovative media campaign, due to launch at the beginning of next year, and the creation of a calendar of volunteering opportunities to encourage participation all year round.

The small grants scheme is open to volunteer groups operating in participating Council areas:

  • Antrim Borough Council
  • Ards Borough Council
  • Ballymena Borough Council
  • Belfast City Council
  • Carrickfergus Borough Council
  • Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council
  • Fermanagh District Council
  • Larne Borough Council
  • Limavady Borough Council
  • Newry and Mourne District Council
  • Newtownabbey Borough Council
  • Strabane District Council

The small grants scheme is open to constituted volunteer groups taking action to improve their local environment or community. The deadline for applications is noon on 22 September 2014. Groups will need to complete a simple two page application form to apply for a grant.

Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, says: ‘This scheme will help volunteers to take practical action in their local communities to improve their local environment, how it is managed and support the growth of civic pride in communities. By working together and encouraging everyone to take part, we can start to tackle the negative impact of littering and other environmental behaviours and create a cleaner, greener, more prosperous society.’

Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, said: ‘Citizens quite rightly place most importance on their local environment. A clean, healthy local environment is a source of both civic pride and individual wellbeing.  It is fitting that my Department joins with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the Tourist Board, and local councils to support a grant scheme to help citizens and community groups take practical action in their neighbourhoods, which will restore and enhance the environment and generate a great sense of pride.’

Laura McCorry, Director of Corporate Development at the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, says: ‘Earlier this year, we witnessed incredible levels of community spirit and civic pride in the run up to the Giro d’Italia.  It was inspirational to see what could be achieved through local communities working together in their own areas. This scheme provides an opportunity to harness that community spirit and channel it into projects that can make positive improvements within local communities.  We know that our visitors value a clean, and green natural environment so we are delighted to be supporting the Small Grants Scheme which we are confident will make an important contribution towards achieving a cleaner, greener Northern Ireland.’

IHBC newsblogs on funding and grants

Other awards and opportunities 

View more information on the grants and how to apply 

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