December 2011

Historic Towns Forum Newsletter
Follow HTF

Season's Greetings

In thanks for your continued support we are delighted to offer you our new look wall calendar featuring the winning image from this year’s HTF photo competition. Download your 2012 wall calendar here.

We hope you will be able to join us at our 25th Anniversary events in the coming year. View HTF 2012 events.

December 2011

Localism Act and community assets
Autumn Statement
NPPF update
Penfold Review
Shared services VAT exemption
English Tourism Week 2012
20.12% discount scheme
The Portas Review
Conservation Area Consent
Street operations guidance
Energy saving guide for historic homes
Engaging Places joins Open-City
European heritage label adopted
Internships and placements
Director vacancy at BEFS
New Director at SPAB
Purple Flags for HTF Member towns
Original Features series seek properties
Historic find in Ireland

HTF 2012 events

Director's View

As the festive season approaches here at the HTF offices it is all still go – a visit to Blenheim Palace yesterday to organise next year’s English Tourism Week conference brought home just how wonderful is our national tourism offer – so much culture, heritage and enterprise rolled into one. Nothing could have been more beautiful in the crisp cold blue of yesterday’s morning than the vista of Blenheim framed by the lake and the sunshine and the festive cheer as we pulled in – and it was heartening to see that Blenheim, a successful tourism model if ever there was one, maximising the spirit of Christmas enterprise by the sale of some rather magnificent Norwegian pines (the ones that don’t drop needles) grown and sold from the estate itself. Our conference, ‘Culture, Heritage, Tourism – developing the product’, will be held at Blenheim on 16 March and will feature a key note speech from Lady Cobham, Chair of VisitEngland, and a follow-up from John Hoy, Blenheim’s Chief Executive, on the success of Blenheim as an economic model. Read more

Autumn Statement

The Chancellor covered a number of issues that affect the heritage sector in his Autumn Statement. Particularly of interest to HTF Members will be the areas of planning reform, vocational training and tourism. More detail can be found in the articles below.

The Localism Act and community assets

An outcome of the Localism Act requires local authorities to maintain lists of assets for community value. When an asset is put up for sale a moratorium of six months must be allowed on the sale, allowing local groups time to put together a bid to take it over for community benefit. The Act does not give community organisations first refusal when community assets come up for sale, as originally proposed by community groups, but groups will have opportunities to take on the planning system or to take over failing services and to take ownership of significant historic buildings.
Supporting community asset transfers toolkits
In April the HTF will be holding a seminar to give help in how to implement Asset Transfer Register you interest

Implementing the Penfold Review

On 29 November the Government published its programme for implementation of the Penfold Review. Of particular interest in relation to heritage protection and listed buildings, is the measure to enable the extent of a building’s listing to be defined in its list entry. This removes the need to apply for consent for works to other parts of that building. Listed building owners and local authorities will be able to enter into Statutory Management Agreements to enable works specified in that agreement to be undertaken without the need for separate consent applications. Read more.
Read the EH response.

The Portas Review

Mary Portas unveiled her high street review this week giving 28 recommendations to improve UK high streets and town centres. She has received nearly 2,000 comments on her website from members of the public and high street retailers. Findings from two HTF/EH workshops attended by a wide range of property professionals and partnership organisations also fed into the report. Government will respond the to report early next year. For inclusion in the ATCM offical position read The Portas Review and send your comments to See ATCM's first response here.

Register your interest in attending HTF's retail conference on 23 March

Merging Conservation Area Consent into Planning Permission

There have been a few queries from different quarters on the proposal relating to the likely demise of Conservation Area Consent. The implications of this have been under consideration for some time as they formed part of early phases of heritage protection reform. Read more

Engaging Places joins Open-City

Engaging Places (formerly based at CABE) has been integrated into the leading independent built environment organisation Open-City, one of London's key providers of innovative and inspiring programmes, and resources that use architecture as a learning tool. Read more

ATCM Street operations guidance

Through the ATCM Street Operations Group, an increasing number of Street Operations Guides are being published. There are now a dozen available. These range from dealing with trade waste to pigeons.

Saving energy: A guide for owners of historic homes

An HTF project in conjunction with The Prince’s Regeneration Trust and 4th year UWE architecture and planning student Heidi Tremlett, has produced a useful guidance leaflet to show how historic home owners can reduce CO2 emissions in their homes. Download the leaflet.

European heritage label adopted by the European Parliament

From 2013, a voluntary European Heritage Label may be granted to symbolic sites for Europe's history or integration. Particular attention will go to "transnational" sites, given their special symbolism for Europe's common history. Read more

Historic find in Co Clare

Archaeologists restoring a building in Ennis, Co Clare, believe they have discovered Ireland’s earliest surviving example of a timber framed house. Read more.

Upcoming consultations

View HTF responses to previous consultations

NPPF Update

In total there were 13,700 responses to the NPPF consultation. Local authorities are very concerned about the proposed changes to national planning policy. Main issues include the definition of sustainable development, the lack of emphasis on reusing brownfield land and the need for appropriate transitional arrangements to ensure a smooth shift to any new system. Read more

Shared services VAT exemption for civic and amenity societies

Government has confirmed that additional VAT charges incurred when organisations such as charities share back office services will be removed. However they will still be required to form a separate group to supply services, with no one charity in overall control, rather than allowing one charity to provide services to another. Find out how it will work

English Tourism Week 2012

With so many important events taking place in England in 2012 and to coincide with English Tourism Week, HTF are planning a tourism conference at Blenheim Palace on 16 March 2012. This will be supported by VisitEngland. Find out how to make the most of opportunities for tourists and the tourism industry in your town. View conference details and register. If you wish to sponsor all or part of the event please contact us.

Local tourism firms urged to join the 20.12% discount scheme

This initiative will be launched next year by VisitEngland as part of a campaign to use the Games to boost domestic tourism. Under the scheme, holidaymakers booking a UK short break before the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games will be eligible for a 20.12% discount. The campaign will run throughout next year, backed with heavy-weight TV advertising. Already taking part in the scheme are Bourne Leisure, Superbreaks and Hoseasons. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged tourism businesses around the country to take advantage of the opportunity. Read more

Aylesbury and Canterbury awarded the Purple Flag

Congratulations to these two HTF Member towns who are among nine places across Ireland, Wales and England that have recently been recognised for meeting high standards in showing night time visitors an entertaining and safe night out. HTF are planning another workshop with ATCM in Scotland and hope to see some Scottish Towns included in next year’s awards. Register your interest

Donald Insall Associates gain two awards for Blencow Hall

Congratulations to HTF Member Donald Insall Associates who have won the coveted Best Property of the Year at the Northern Design Awards as well as the Silver Award at the RIBA Northern Network Awards for their work on Blencow Hall in Cumbria.

Supported Internships and Placements

  • UWE Graduate Internship Scheme 2011/2012 offers recruiters £1000 subsidy - Closes 9 Jan 2012
    Read more
  • Newcastle University is seeking 1 year placements for 4th year Town & Planning students
    Read more
  • Centre for Scottish Public Policy invite you to adopt an intern with funding available from the Scottish Government
    Read more

Built Environment Forum Scotland seeks Director

BEFS is seeking applicants with a passion for Scotland's places. Applicants must have excellent strategic, organisational, interpersonal, communication and fundraising skills; and would enjoy working in a focused, motivated small team. This is an exciting opportunity to play a central role in developing BEFS - a strategic umbrella body for Scotland's built and historic environment. Find out more

New Director for SPAB

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has appointed Matthew Slocombe to take over as Director when Philip Venning retires next summer. SPAB, Britain's oldest heritage organisation, much like the HTF, supports local authorities and communities working to manage the historic built environment.

BBC Original Features series seeks case studies

Do you know of anyone or any property that could take part in the next 'Original Features' TV series? This will be hosted by Nick Knowles. Whatever the historical period they would be interested in hearing from you. Contact or call on 0117 974 6875 or 0117 974 7981