September 2011

Historic Towns Forum Newsletter
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Director's View

Traditionally in the sector August seems to be a quiet month – a time to reflect on previous events and to plan the year ahead; a time to catch up on emails, correspondence, and even to take or plan a restful summer holiday. This period of quietude extends beyond the sector, too. August holidays. Lazy summer sun, gentle days, less stress. But not so this year. People are still reeling from the riots. What on earth happened? Where was the Big Society? HTF were in Derry and Belfast planning next year’s summer conference with partners when it all kicked off, and the irony wasn’t lost on us. At a time when the 2012 Games are so close, when domestic and international tourism are so important to us, when the plight of our high street retail has never been so marked, how do we respond and recover from the sudden and unexpected horror and violence that erupted in our towns and cities?

While Social Media has been largely blamed for the phenomenon (as well as praised for the clean-up operation) it has also been a hotbed of discussion around the complicated and perplexing events of recent days. Several discussions have centred on the role of our historic built environment in benefiting communities and reducing similar behaviour, while others have looked at strategic investment into inner cities – timely comments while the growth vs. conservation argument heats up around the NPPF and when the second tranche of Enterprise Zones has just been announced. Here in the office we are still scratching our heads in wonder but can advise that if you have been affected by the riots you can seek compensation , and if you are looking for advice on safer, more vibrant night time economies, you could do worse than engage with our Purple Flag event below.

Which leaves me with an interesting and salient point gleaned from a recent Linkedin discussion - that in the design of the ideal city we need to work with the city itself, rather than using it as a tool to achieve political, cultural, economic and environmental goals. That we need to consider it as an ‘ecosystem... [with] a multiplicity of drivers... social dynamics being the greatest one'; that as designers and planners we should work with the inhabitants of a place rather than imposing design on the inhabitants. And isn’t the irony of that that it takes us right back to the Localism debate within the aegis of the Big Society? That a whole swathe of people supposed to be empowered by the Bill have already been completely bypassed by it? Is it time to go back to the drawing board before we have even begun? It’s difficult to see the positives but this is surely the wake-up call the Government needed. And a wake-up call for the sector. Let’s continue to seize the opportunities and engage. Now is not a time for cynicism. It is a time for civic action.

September 2011

HTF Annual Conference
HTF Photo Competition
Social Media Event
Going for Purple Flag Award
Talk with the Chief
Is the NPPF fit for purpose?
CLG Planning Reform events
Steven Bee on Localism
Compensation under Riot Damages Act
Community Right to Buy: responses to consultation
Is the Green deal appropriate to older buildings?
SW England low carbon initiative
Mary Portas BIS high street review
Shuttering up Shop?
Growth for BIDs in Scotland
Domestic Tourism Panel Findings
More Enterprise Zones announced
Local Loyalty scheme looking for pilot areas
Heritage Works office closes
Heritage Alliance Hero Awards
SPAB Scholarship
Year of Volunteering
Big Society Fund
Neighbourhood Projects Small Grants
British best-loved views funding
Upcoming consultations
HTF consultation responses
New Members

HTF Photo Competition ends soon

You have until 30 September to submit your photos to demonstrate Localism at work in your community. For a chance to win the prize of one night's stay at any UK Barceló hotel of the winner´s choice with dinner, bed and breakfast for two people enter the competition now

HTF Annual Conference
20/21 October - York

A day of seminars exploring economic vision in historic towns. This will include the AGM, the evening reception and Annual Dinner on the magnificent Royal Platform at the National Railway Museum. The second day includes a study tour to Scarborough to look at the Spa regeneration, a fish and chip lunch in Whitby, and a return trip on the North York Moors Steam Railway. Booking details available shortly. Register your interest

Is the National Planning Policy Framework fit for purpose?

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee are examining the draft NPPF and are calling for evidence for the Commons Select Committee by 9 September, with six questions to be considered. Read more.

Meanwhile the consultation for the NPPF ends on 17 October. HTF, in partnership with Bath Preservation Trust, will be holding a practical half-day workshop on 30 September to help you shape your responses. This will be led by CLG and other experts in the field.

Sign up for CLG’s planning reform events

In September CLG are holding four planning reform events to cover the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) along with other key elements of current planning reforms, such as Neighbourhood Planning. These will take place in London, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol. Find out more and how to attend.
Read the draft NPPF

Community Right to Buy: summary of responses to consultation

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a summary of responses to the consultation on the ‘Community Right to Buy’ in the Localism Bill (Part 4, Chapter 4, Assets of Community Value), which the Government hopes will “assist community organisations that wish to purchase assets of community value.” See the full report.

Mary Portas BIS High Street Review – events and consultation

HTF, in conjunction with English Heritage, is holding two consultation round table events to feed into the BIS High Street Review. The first round table event will be held at Bircham Dyson Bell (HTF partner) with a follow up round table to be held towards the end of October. Read More
Respond to the review

Shuttering up Shop?

Following a general appeal by the PM, England’s Chief Planning Officer Steve Quartermain has written to local planning authorities asking them to consider the ways in which their planning powers can be used to support businesses and shops to restore premises which have recently suffered damage. Read more

Compensation under Riot Damages Act ... and more

On Thursday August 11 the Prime Minister announced a raft of measures in the wake of the riots seen across many parts of England. Part of the package of support to communities affected by the riots includes a commitment that any individual, homeowner or business that has suffered damage to or loss of a building arising out of a riot, can seek compensation under the Riot Damages Act. Read more about compensation
Help is also available from the High Street Fund set up to help SMEs who suffered material disruption, damage or destruction in the August riots.

Heritage Works office closes

It is with sadness that we forward the news that HTF Member Heritage Works, the Manchester-based Building Preservation Trust, is having to close its office and make staff redundant. Chairman John Glester calls for suggestions to help the organisation continue its valued contribution to the heritage sector. Read more

First public property map published by CLG

Eric Pickles wants public sector organisations, including councils, to publish registers of all buildings and land owned. Local people could use the lists alongside the Localism Bill's new community rights to protect local treasures. Read more.

SPAB Scholarship

Since 1930 the SPAB has organised a unique nine month training programme in practical building conservation. The Society feels that the best way to learn about construction methods, building materials, their performance and the range of methods of repair available today is out on site. Three or four scholarships are awarded each year, depending on funding available. The closing date for applications is 1st January each year. The successful candidates start their scholarships in mid-March. Contact the SPAB for more details.

Year of Volunteering

Arts & Business have been selected as an official partner of the Office for Civil Society as part of the national work programme for the European year of Volunteering. A&B will be leading the project for the arts, heritage and culture in England. Read more.

Government launches £30 Million Big Society Fund

A new £30 million fund to help modernise organisations that supply critical support to front-line charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises has opened for applications. The Transforming Local Infrastructure Programme is managed by Big Fund, the non-lottery arm of the Big Lottery Fund, which has pledged a further £20million for infrastructure development in the future.

Neighbourhood Projects Small Grants 2011-2012

The Design Fund for Growth has been established by the Design Council to support the use of design for economic growth.

The aim is to create or strengthen programmes run by intermediary organisations that improve understanding between design, business and technology and leave behind lasting legacies. Read more.

Are conservation officers roles affected by Govt change?

Please complete this questionnaire which is for post grad student Jennie, studying at Sheffield Hallam University. She is finding out how changes in Government from 2010 to present affect the role of conservation officers in local planning authorities. We hope to publish the findings when Jennie has completed her dissertation.

HTF consultation responses

New Members

Landor Travel Publications
Amesbury Town Council
Lichfield City Council
The Widcombe Association
Sandover Associates Ltd
Jess Bailey Consultancy

View the full list of Members

Talk with the Chief

Geoff Rivers, CEO, St Edmundsbury Borough Council
Geoff RiversThis is the first e-news column featuring interviews with Chief Executives from HTF Local Authority Members. We aim to discover how they are coping in a difficult economic climate and how they are preparing for the Localism Bill, without losing sight of the value of the historic environment. Read moreSt Edmundsbury BC logo

Social Media event 29 Sept

HTF are delivering a seminar designed to help businesses get the most from social media. Used correctly, social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be an extremely effective marketing tool. Find out more and book your place

Workshop prepares towns to Go for Purple Flag

Purple Flag is an award scheme offered by ATCM, to recognise excellence in place management in town and city centres at night. HTF, in partnership with ATCM and Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS), will be holding a workshop on 6 October in Glasgow where you can learn how to assemble a successful entry to achieve the Purple Flag status for your town. Find out more and book your place

Steven Bee writes on Heritage and Localism

There are two questions to which we will only really know the answers once the Localism Bill is enacted. Do the Government really want to hand power to the people; and do the people really want it? Read more

Is the Green deal appropriate to older buildings?

A group including SPAB, IHBC, the National Trust, the Victorian Society and TV architectural guru Kevin McCloud has written to Chris Huhne to voice their concerns on the Governments’ energy efficiency initiative. They express caution over a potential risk to human health and the fabric of old buildings through incorrect adaptation. Read more

UWE-based south west low carbon initiative

The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Low Carbon Innovation Award will close for entries on Friday, 2nd September. Organised in association with the Environmental Technologies iNet, the scheme highlights excellent use of innovative low carbon technology in a building project designed by a RIBA architect or chartered practice. This applies to both new build and retrofit. Read more

Continued Growth for BIDs in Scotland. Apply for Grant Funding Now!

A one-off Scottish Government grant of up to £20,000 will be available as 'seedcorn' funding for each new Business Improvement District project that comes forward (subject to qualification criteria). These modest but useful sums act as a catalyst to enable partnership working and the development of realistic BID Proposals that are likely to be attractive to local private and public sector stakeholders. Grant funding is still available. Read more.

Domestic Tourism Panel Findings

The ‘grey pound’ is stable and people like to book online – some of the thoughts in Visit Britain’s latest Domestic Tourism Panel findings. Read more. There’s some interesting cross sector thoughts on consumer spending fears and hopes for 2012.

Second tranche of Enterprise Zones announced

Good news for the sector - unlike the first tranche, it looks like there are a few in there which will have some tourism-related benefit. Read more.

Local Loyalty scheme looking for pilot areas

My Card offers an innovative approach to delivering high street loyalty. It is an area-based (City, Town, Neighbourhood and Settlement) loyalty programme initially using a ‘pay as you go’ card to reward residents for rediscovering their local high streets. Find out more and how to run one of the four pilot areas

Heritage Alliance Hero Awards closing soon – spread the word!

A quick reminder that nominations to this year’s Heritage Alliance Hero Awards will close on 15 September. The Awards celebrate the outstanding contribution to society made by heritage volunteers. Receiving a ‘Hero’ helped last year’s winner and runners-up to secure local press attention and raise the profile of their projects in their local areas. Find out how to nominate your hero.

£18.3 Million funding for British best-loved views

On 1 August the Heritage Lottery Fund announced 11 earmarked first-round passes made through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme. The total investment of £18.3m will enable the conservation of some of the UK’s most distinctive landscapes by supporting schemes that provide long-term social, economic and environmental benefits for rural areas. Find out more.


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