A very belated Happy New Year to you all! Things seem never to have been busier in the HTF office. With several key events planned over the coming months there has been no gradual ease back into work after the festive break (which feels like it was years ago!) First up we have our next Understanding Localism event in London on 21 February, which will look at how Localism will affect our communities and heritage, now that it is an Act of Parliament; followed by our Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded academic debate Localism and Planning in a Heritage Context , which will feature Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Department for Communities and Local Government Select Committee, on 01 March. Then on 16 March we have our National Tourism Conference, Culture – Heritage – Tourism: Developing the Product, the first of our events celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Historic Towns Forum, also supported by VisitEngland and key practitioners within the tourism industry. This will be a fitting end to the first ever English Tourism Week, and with the conference set within the magnificence of Blenheim Palace, with high profile speakers and a champagne tour, places are selling like hot cross buns so make sure you secure your place! Following this on 23 March we have our retail event, Retail, the High Street Review, and the revivification of historic cores which is supported by English Heritage, and follows directly from our BIS Review roundtable events held in the Autumn of 2011.
Next we will investigate Community Asset Transfer with Bircham Dyson Bell (late April – date tbc) and then the implications of the National Planning Policy Framework and the capacity of historic towns to absorb additional growth (register your interest) will be explored in Salisbury, in late May. Watch also for our series of summer Practical Localism (register interest) workshops, to be delivered in a venue near you! Our Annual Conference (register interest) this year will explore the impact of social media and technology on the historic environment sector, and will include workshops on how to develop and deliver your own social media and digital tools. And finally watch this space for exciting news about our 25th Anniversary Dinner – our lips are sealed at the moment, but we will be able to tell you more about this in late spring. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2012 – let’s make our 25th Anniversary one to remember!