November 2011

Historic Towns Forum Newsletter
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Director's View

It’s been an incredibly busy few months, here in the HTF offices. Normally we’d be winding down a little, taking stock, and planning for next year, but with so much going on in the ever-changing political landscape we’ve been holding extra requested events and continuing to be strong advocates for our part of the sector.

September saw us hold our first Social Media training event – a great success – led by James Mott of ProjectBook. While we ourselves have this year embraced the world of Social Media, it was fascinating and somewhat salutary to be shown by an expert how it should be done – and it’s led to greater online connection with our colleagues, members, and fellow practitioners. It also led to our first set of ‘storified’ tweets from our Annual Conference in York, in October ('Economic Vision in Historic Towns – planning and regeneration' [ Members can see presentations here]) – tweets which were followed, seen and read by almost 7000 recipients according to James (who was monitoring this for us) – a figure which certainly underlines the power of Twitter! It was exciting also to see responses from members and others who had not been able to make the conference, but who were nevertheless engaging with the topics, the content and the speakers. If you are not yet on Twitter, or not yet following us, then please do so on @HTF_Director and @_HTF.
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November 2011

The Localism Bill
NPPF update
Neighbourhood planning - cash for communities
National Heritage Protection Plan
LEPs a year on
Growing Places Fund
Economic viability of historic towns
Talk with the Chief
Heritage Counts 2011
Mary Portas' High Street Review
HTF takes on interns and volunteers
Local shopping supports smaller towns
Business rate boost for planning teams
Welsh Govt planning reform panel
RGF for VisitEngland: Growing Tourism Locally
£27m to promote British tourism abroad
Scottish Govt approves TIF financing
DfT Shared Space report
Bishop Review
EH Industrial Heritage research
Legacy 10
Small Towns Big Society
Call for papers on energy consumption
Country House Rescue
Building Craft Apprenticeships
Upcoming consultations
Previous HTF responses
Book review
New Members

Neighbourhood planning - extra cash for communities?

The Government is considering bypassing local authorities and providing funding directly to communities to help them develop their neighbourhood plans. Read more

The Localism Bill

Now that the Localism Bill has completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent, it is time to get active in your communities. As the debate continues we question: will the policy of devolving power to local areas be allowed to happen without Government intervention on use of public funding? Will it really help to build strong local communities? Join the discussion with the Historic Towns Forum Linkedin group

How is the Bill going to affect you and what you want in your areas? Please do keep us informed of what is happening in your localities as we will be producing short, simple and useful guidance in the coming year – let us know what you would find most useful. Register your interest for Jan/Feb Localism event with BDB

More Localism Stories:
26 October: Big Society: a new direction for the third sector?
3 November: Localism loses out in High Court decision

National Planning Policy Framework Update

Ministers have pledged NPPF transition arrangements to give councils without an up-to-date local plan time to adapt to the planning reforms. Read more
View the HTF response to the consultation
View the outcomes from the HTF/Bath Preservation Trust workshop
A further 130 responses have been made available by CLG
More NPPF stories:
27 July: Simplification of planning is welcomed

National Heritage Protection Plan

Since its launch in May, the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP) has been gathering pace. A six month progress report just published summarises updates on work such as the heritage crime initiative, the survey into local authority capacity, the rapid coastal assessment survey programme, assessing historic suburbs, prominent designation activity and levels of casework activity.
Read the report
To take part in further discussions on the NHPP register with Communities of Practice for Public Service

Local Enterprise Partnerships a year on

It is a year since the first 24 LEPs were announced with the purpose to bring the public sector and business together to “take charge of the local economy” – driving growth, creating jobs and providing strategic leadership. A recent report shows that some have made very little progress over the last year. The evidence shows that LEPs have made varied progress in setting up boards and producing strategies which suggests that the impact of LEPs will be equally inconsistent. Read the centreforcities report
However, HTF continues to engage with LEPs interested in tourism and heritage as economic drivers.

£500m Growing Places Fund

A fund was launched on 7 Nov to enable LEPs to get stalled projects moving again. The aim is to promote economic growth by getting the required infrastructure built to enable the creation of new jobs and homes. Read more. But there are questions over how the fund will be allocated geographically. Read David Marlow's blog

Heritage Counts 2011

The theme of Heritage Counts 2011 is the Historic Environment and the Big Society. New research finds that heritage organisations provide invaluable support to local people and that civic societies are well placed to represent community views to local authorities and others. For this year’s issue HTF has contributed text, a case study, content suggestions and editorial help.

Mary Portas High Street Review

HTF together with EH have recently held two consultation round table events to feed into the BIS High Street Review. This found a number of issues and trends, which combined, create a set of very challenging circumstances for historic high streets, town, and city ‘historic cores’. On examining how a balanced retail offer could be created and protected the consensus was that support for smaller and independent retailers is crucial. Read the HTF/EH joint response to the review These findings will lead to a workshop in wider retail issues in the new year - register your interest in attending - and revision of the popular publication 'Retail Development in Historic Areas'

Local shopping supports smaller towns

The ATCM/Springboard September High Street Index showed a clear indication that even in this period of austerity our high streets are increasing their customer base, albeit that growth is in support for smaller town centres rather than larger city centres further afield. In a report from Rotherham the BBC interviewed Diane Wehrle, Director of HTF Member Springboard.

VisitEngland’s successful £20m Regional Growth Fund bid

The money will be used on a three-year project entitled, ‘Growing Tourism Locally’. A key part of the project will be a national campaign aimed at inspiring Britons to take more short breaks and holidays at home and in doing so grow jobs in the tourism sector. Read more

Further £27m to promote Britain to foreign tourists

Jeremy Hunt gave a speech at World Tourism Market, on 7 November, where he announced that the Government will allocate an additional £39m to the ‘GREAT’ campaign. Of this, £27m will be given to VisitBritain for the tourism marketing component of the campaign. Read more

Industrial buildings more at risk than other kinds of heritage

Almost 11% of grade I and II* industrial buildings are at risk. This was just one of the findings in the recently published Heritage at Risk 2011. In a public poll published by English Heritage at the same time it was found 86% agreed that it is important we value and appreciate industrial heritage. Read more.

Legacy 10 campaign to encourage philanthropy

An independent campaign has been launched this week to encourage more people to leave money to charity in their will. The Legacy10 campaign encourages people to leave ten per cent of their legacy to charity – a move which could also allow them to benefit from an inheritance tax break which will be introduced in April. More from the DCMS

Upcoming consultations

Previous HTF responses

Reviews and new publications

New Members

South Gloucestershire Council
Wokingham Town Council
Storm Windows Ltd
Federation of Bath Residents' Associations
Salisbury Civic Society
Holywell Trust
Tamsin Macmillan
David Ashton Hill
Kevin McGovern

View the full list of Members

Featured HTF Corporate Member: Imagemakers

i-explore logo

Imagemakers have launched 'i-explore', an app engine designed to help the heritage sector embrace digital technology, increase learning and participation and save costs. Based on the much-loved game of I-Spy, i-explore combines visitor information and multimedia with game dynamics - setting it apart from the standard guide book style app. Read more about i-explore apps for Edinburgh World Heritage City, the Natural History Museum, Chester City Renaissance and the Bridgewater Canal.

Economic viability of historic towns

The ongoing difficulties facing town and city centres in terms of economic survival have been highlighted by engagement with Local Enterprise Partnerships, the BIS High Street Review, the forthcoming Localism Bill, the controversy around the National Planning Policy Framework as well as tourism and heritage cuts. View the storified tweets from HTF’s recent conference ‘Economic Vision in Historic Towns – planning and regeneration'. View the presentations

Talk with the Chief

Kersten England, Chief Executive, City of York Council
Kersten EnglandThis continues the series of interviews with Chief Executives from HTF Local Authority Members. We 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 more.

HTF takes on planning law intern and seeks volunteers

HTF will be joined by intern Sonal Barot who will be investigating the impacts of recent planning law on historic towns. Sonal has recently qualified at the Bar and has numerous awards and prizes for her legal work. We feel very fortunate to have Sonal with us while she is waiting to take up her pupillage at Landmark Chambers next October.

If you would like to volunteer for the HTF, please get in touch. In particular we are interested in speaking to people with planning, policy, or fundraising experience but will happily consider all interest.

Historic Environment: Local Authority Capacity

A sector-wide initiative has been designed to explore ways of supporting local authorities to re-evaluate their historic environment services in line with budget reductions. Pilot studies from Cheltenham, Chichester, Essex, Northumberland and the Cotswold area will shortly be published by English Heritage. Read more

Business rate boost for planning teams

Planning Minister Greg Clark has told councils that they could receive a financial boost through measures that would allow them to keep the business rates raised in their areas if they invest in their planning teams. Read more
25 October: Local growth plans "will harm regions"

Welsh Govt panel to review planning reforms

A major review of how planning services in Wales should be delivered in the future has been announced by John Griffiths, Welsh Environment and Sustainable Development Minister. It will be conducted by an independent advisory group under the chairmanship of John Davies, former Welsh director of the Planning Inspectorate. Read more

Scottish Govt approves Tax Increment Financing

Scottish Government has given approval to three local authorities to develop business cases based around Tax Increment Financing. The Councils will be able to fund infrastructure projects, such as carparking and public realm works, by borrowing against the future business rate income that should be generated by the finished development. Read more

DfT shared space report

Local Transport Note 01/11, published by the Department for Transport on 20 October, focuses on High Street environments and advises that extra care is needed in sensitive areas such as historic streets. As with the Manual for Streets, it underlines the importance of design quality in creating a street environment that looks like a place for people rather than a piece of trunk road infrastructure. Read more

Bishop Review

England needs a networked system of design support, providing local people with access to built environment expertise and advice, according to the Bishop Review, published on 18 October.Download the report
HTF's initial response to the consultation

Comments from the post-launch online debate

Small Towns Big Society

Small Towns for Tomorrow is group set up with support from Action for Market Towns to provide an objective forum for debating and researching issues affecting small towns. The group has produced a second essay, 'Small Towns, Big Societies', written by Dr Gordon Morris. It explores the British Government's keenness on 'localism' and the 'Big Society', and the semi-invisibility, in relation to policy and local government terms, of England's small towns. Leave your comments and to become actively involved with the group

Channel 4 - Country House Rescue

Can you help? Channel Four is looking for people who own historic or country houses to take part in the fourth series of Country House Rescue. As ever, the programme will follow the fortunes of a number of stately British homes as the owners seek to diversify and raise the revenue they need to survive. Find out more

Impact of building occupants on energy consumption

Earthscan Journals are calling for research papers for a special issue focusing on the impact of the building occupant on energy consumption. Suggestions of topics and more details on how to submit your paper.
More Energy Efficiency news:
Leaner and Greener II: Putting Buildings to Work

Building Craft Apprentices

The Prince's Foundation are inviting applications for the 5th year of The Prince of Wales's Building Crafts Apprentices Programme to help train the master craftspeople of tomorrow. Further details

Photo Competition winner

This year's photo competition winner is Ruth Chambers, Team Leader, Planning Services, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. Her prize was kindly donated by UK Barceló. The image Ruth entered depicting localism at work in the community will be featured in the HTF 2012 calendar, sponsored by Powell Dobson Urbanists, and will be sent to all HTF main members contacts next month.

Raising Purchase Orders

If your company or organisation operates on a purchase order requirement scheme, please provide a purchase order number when completing any requests for publications or when booking conference place(s) with HTF as we will be unable to process your request without one.