February 2014 Newsletter

February 2014 Newsletter

Director’s Message

A belated Happy New Year to you all!

We have an exciting year programme of events planned for the first half of this year (see below) and would like your input on what you’d like to see us cover from June onwards, both in terms of topic and location. Among the events planned is a free members’ Skills’ Summit on 18 Feb (see below) focusing on the continuing and increasing gap in Local Authorities of Conservation, Heritage, and Archaeological Officers. This will be your chance, as members, to tell us what you need us to do to help fill that gap.

I do hope you have not been badly affected by all the recent flooding (and what is also to come!) My normal ride to work along the Thames canal path has been flooded so badly I’ve resorted to catching the bus. Which has been an eye opener in terms of traffic overflow and hold-ups outside the city. It’s been heartening though to see the local bus stops at the Park & Ride and is well-used by commuters and shoppers deciding not to bring their cars into the centre. (I was also surprised to see how badly maintained some of the roads are – it’s like a mini-workout every morning, it’s so bumpy!) On the subject of Park & Ride, traffic control/flow/growth in historic settlements continues to be an issue of great concern - and we are pleased to be able to advise an MA student from Bath who is researching this topic. Is it time for another event/more guidance on this topic? With further growth being an issue of the day, what are we going to do about the corresponding traffic? Do let us know your thoughts!

And finally, please do join us for our inaugural Historic Environment Seminar at Kellogg College on 25 February – this free event runs from 7 – 9pm and includes drinks and nibbles. David Lock, ex Chief Planner, Milton Keynes Development Corporation, will be speaking on New Towns and Masterplanning – a relevant topic and one that is here to stay – so do come and join in the professional debate!

Latest news

Technology Solutions to boost high streets

Science Minister David Willetts has announced a new £8m initiative designed to re-invigorate UK high streets. The initiative, a funding competition, will be run by the Technology Strategy Board and is seeking innovative technology solutions to boost high streets by exploring new approaches to retail/services, logistics and travel and traffic.Read more

Wolfson Economics Prize 2014 – Garden Cities

The second Wolfson Economics Prize will be awarded to the entrant who offers the best answer to the question ‘How would you deliver a new Garden City which is visionary, economically viable, and popular?’  The deadline for submissions is 3 March 2014.

This follows much recent comment in the national press, including a piece on the Telegraph on our Annual Conference, where we had Miles Gibson, the PM’s then-Housing Advisor and now Wolfson Prize Director, on the case for further Garden Cities to help address the need for housing. Read more

Lake District 2016 World Heritage Nomination

The Lake District has been chosen as the UK’s World Heritage nomination for 2016. Nominations are subject to an 18 month process of scrutiny by UNESCO and its advisors. The final decision is expected to be made in July 2015. Read more

Half of councils with green belt land preparing to develop it

Research carried out by the National Trust has shown that half of the councils in England which have green belt land are preparing to allocate some of it for development while brownfield sites remain undeveloped. This follows evidence from CPRE that the number of houses planned for green belt sites has doubled since last year to 150,000. While consulting in the NPPF in 2011, ministers and the Prime Minister stated that they were committed to protecting the green belt. Read more

Scotland’s Future and the historic environment

In December the Scottish Government published its white paper on the future of Scotland. The paper sets out the suggested gains of independence for Scotland and the Governments vision and priorities for action if they are the first government of an independent Scotland. Built Environment Forum Scotland has issued a summary of the potential implications of the paper for the historic environment sector. Read more

Importance of local lists

A planning inspector has referred to the importance of local lists of buildings of architectural and historic interest in his decision to dismiss an appeal against refusal of planning consent for construction of a new dwelling in Peterborough. In his decision statement the inspector said ‘Whilst I accept that the heritage value of a building on a local list is not as great as a statutory listed building and it does not have the same degree of protection, the fact that number 95 is of local importance adds weight to my findings. It also forms part of the balanced judgement I am required to make in accordance with paragraph 135 of the National Planning Policy Framework’.Read more

Supreme Court rejects HS2 appeals

The Supreme Court has rejected the final outstanding appeals by objectors to the HS2 high speed rail link claiming that the decision making process had been unlawful. The decision marks the end of the judicial reviews into HS2 two years after opponents launched legal action.Read more

Pickles on local plans

During a session of the Communities and Local Government select committee the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said that local plans with realistic housing targets were more likely to be signed off, and that he did not anticipate many of the plans currently submitted being rejected.  He also referred to the increased use of ‘landbanks’ and to the recent report by Savills suggesting that landbanks were being used at a faster rate than at any time since 2007.Read more

Pre application discussion guidance

New guidance advocating closer and earlier working between developers and local authorities during pre application discussions has been published by the British Property Federation, the Local Government Association and the Home Builders Federation. The report, titled ‘Planning Positively through Partnership’ includes several case studies illustrating how closer working between developers, local authorities and communities can be effective.Read more

Key Cities Manifesto for Growth

The Key Cities group, which is made up of 22 cities with populations of between 250,000 and 500,000 people, has published a Manifesto for Growth, calling for less emphasis on boosting high streets and more help in creating non-retail jobs. The group says that too many businesses have moved out of central locations leaving city centres more reliant on retail. Read more

Events and Seminars

Forthcoming Historic Towns Events

We have an exciting programme of events starting in 2014. In addition we will be introducing an events’ season ticket and further discounts on events for members who join again in 2014. Ask for details here

London 18 February 2014 – FREE EVENT

Local Authority Skills’ Summit Invitation Event

In answer to the skills’ gap crisis in Local Authorities regarding the continued dearth and increasing cuts in Archaeological, Conservation and Heritage Officers, the HTF is holding a free strategy event to determine what our part of the sector needs to do to address this issue. This will be informed by recent IHBC and ALGAO research.  Speakers include ALGAO, IHBC, RTPI, English Heritage and others. This will be at HTF partner’s office, Bircham Dyson Bell, 50 Broadway, London, on 18 February 2014, from 11.30-4, with lunch. Places will be limited so register now!

Historic Built Environment Seminars Oxford 2014 – February 25 – FREE EVENT

The New Towns Agenda – Masterplanning for new towns, garden cities and urban extensions in the historic environment – theory, practice and examples

The Historic Towns Forum, the Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages, and Kellogg College are pleased to announce the inaugural series of Historic Built Environment Seminars. Beginning in 2014, these seminars will address current and contentious topics within the historic built environment, fostering academic dialogue, professional practice, and providing an arena in which the public, private, civic and academic sectors can engage in heated and healthy debate about all aspects of the topic in hand. The seminar series will be accompanied by published proceedings each following year.

The first of these is on 25 February, and will feature David Lock, of David Lock Associates (and ex- Milton Keynes Development Corporation Chief Planner) on New Towns and Masterplanning. The event will begin with wine and nibbles at 7pm, followed by the seminar and discussion at 7.30pm. The event will finish at 9pm. The other seminars are as follows:

  • 3 June Steven Bee, Steven Bee Urban Counsel, on Urban extensions and ‘Poundbury-Lite’
  • 14 October Peter Larkham, Birmingham City University, on Conserving the post-Second World War reconstruction: a contentious idea
  • These are free events. Register here Please do join us!
    Read more

    London March 13 2014 – Note change of date from February 24

    Accommodating growth in historic towns – what can we learn from past models and future thinking?

    Response to our Milton Keynes Conference on the New Towns Agenda was so positive that we are revisiting the topic with a focus on how what we can learn from Masterplanning and social planning of the past in our historic towns and cities – are we taking those lessons forward into the planning of today and the future, or are we continuing to reinvent the wheel? This event will be held at HTF partners’ office Bircham Dyson Bell , 50 Broadway, London, on 13 March 2014. Register here

    Poundbury April 03 2014

    Heritage Tourism, Ruralism, Communications and Business in a Broadband Age
    England Tourism Week

    The Historic Towns Forum in conjunction with ASHTAV will be holding its second National Tourism Conference during England Tourism week on April 3 2014. This will focus on rural heritage and tourism issues and how Broadband provision affects this, among other topical issues such as communications, transport infrastructure and economic growth in rural historic settlements. The event will be VisitEngland supported and will include tours around Poundbury, the often controversial and fascinating housing development instigated by HTF Patron, HRH Prince Charles. It is rumoured we may have some important guests! Register here

    London May 01 2014

    Annual Heritage Legislation Update

    On May 01 we will be holding our annual heritage legislation update at HTF partners’ office Bircham Dyson Bell , 50 Broadway, London, on 24 February 2014. With so much still changing in both the planning and heritage sectors, this event, hosted by legal advisors to English Heritage, is not to be missed. Register here

    Other HTF events
    What events would you like us to put on?
    We are now planning the rest of yearly programme. What events would you like us to cover? Some ideas so far include Coastal Communities, revisiting the LEP issues, transport infrastructure and further events on accommodating growth. And where would you like us to hold them? We’ve had several requests for events in the north of England, later in the year. Places we are considering are Scarborough, Liverpool and Manchester. Let us know what you think!

    Partner Events

    Birmingham 28 Feb - 01 March

    Civic Society leadership course

    The Civic Society is holding a civic leadership course, open to anyone involved in a civic society, to help develop skills and capabilities of individuals who will help lead and support civic groups over the next few years. The weekend course will be held in Birmingham from Friday 28th February to 1st March. Read more

    21-22 March Milton Keynes

    New Towns Heritage Festival, Bradwell Abbey

    This free event is a joint project between the University of Hertfordshire, the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre and Milton Keynes Council, sponsored by the AHRC. The event hopes to celebrate the New Towns of the United Kingdom and act as a catalyst for future joint working and sharing of best practice. For more information and to register

    London 01 April

    National Planning Summit

    The inaugural National Planning Summit will be held on 1st April at the ILEC Conference Centre in London. The summit is intended to address the latest, most pertinent issues facing the planning system today Read more

    Winchester 26-27 April

    The University of Winchester Archaeology and Memory

    Winchester is one of the most thoroughly excavated cities in Britain, and its excavations among the most fully recorded. Areas for discussion at this conference will include memory and identity, myth, legend and history, power, space, place, architecture and fabric, communications, landscape, art, literature and piety, charity and devotion. The main aim is to demonstrate the material past with modern memory and the implications therein for Winchester’s people, landscape, topography and history. The conference is designed to be accessible to everyone with an interest in Winchester’s past. For more information To book

    Edinburgh 5-7 June

    IHBC Annual School

    The Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation (IHBC) annual school will be held in Edinburgh in June 2014. Professor Jukka Jokhileto will speak on the theme of ‘the philosophy and conservation theory, exploring the relationship with culture and science’. Read more

    York  11-13 July 2014

    Centre for Conservation Studies and ICOMOS conference,

    The Centre for Conservation Studies and ICOMOS-UK conference for 2014, titled ‘Engaging Conservation’ will be held in York on 11th-13th July. Proposals for conference papers have been invited on all aspects of engaging conservation - with communities, participation, skills and capacity. Read more


    £2bn awarded to councils for new homes

    Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has published details of the latest New Homes Bonus payments made to English councils in recognition of their contribution to building homes. Councils have been rewarded for delivering 550,000 newly built homes and conversions and bringing 93,000 empty homes back into use. The councils are free to spend the money in any way they choose to benefit their local communities. Read more

    HLF funding for Built Environment Fund Scotland through Arts & Business HLF bid

    Built Environment Forum Scotland has been awarded part of a £452,200 grant under the HLF Catalyst Heritage programme to deliver fund raising and capacity building skills. The grant will be used to provide Scotland’s heritage sector with the tools, training and support needed to develop capacity and confidence in generating income from private sources and to improve organisational resilience. Read more

    HLF funding for SAVE Britain’s Heritage

    The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £10,000 to SAVE Britain’s Heritage to develop a corporate fund raising programme. SAVE Britain’s Heritage is an advocate of the historic environment and campaigns to prevent the neglect or loss of all kinds of historic buildings from palaces to humble cottages. Read more

    HLF funding for the Heritage Alliance

    The Heritage Alliance has been awarded £500,000 under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Catalyst Umbrella programme to deliver Giving to Heritage, its major project to boost fund raising skills. The Heritage Alliance, the largest coalition of heritage interests in England, will launch the fund raising initiative in April 2014 to support local community groups across the UK. Read more

    £78m funding for sustainable transport

    Local authorities in England have been invited to bid for funding totalling £78m which has been allocated to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Guidance on the operation of the fund has been issues by the DoT and is available on its web site. Individual applications may be for up to £1m for schemes which make it easier and more convenient for people to make their journey from door to door by public transport, cycling or walking. Read more


    English Heritage New Model - deadline 07 February 2014

    The Department for Culture Media and Sport has issued its consultation document on the proposed future model for English Heritage. It is proposed that English Heritage will be established as a charity with responsibility for care of the National Heritage Collection, and that a new body, Historic England, will be set up to take responsibility for the planning protection, advisory, conservation and archival services. The Historic Towns Forum will submit a response. Responses should be submitted by 7th February. Read more

    Draft National Policy Statement for National Networks – deadline 26 February 2014

    The Department for Transport has launched a public consultation on the Governments Draft National Policy Statement for National Networks in England. The Department has also published its appraisal of sustainability of the draft National Statement. The consultation period ends on 26 February 2014. Read more

    Review of Local Government Archaeological services

    Ed Vaisey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, has initiated a review into the future of local government archaeological services. The review will be undertaken by Lord Redesdale and John Howell MP, supported by The Archaeology Forum. Written evidence responding to a set of questions in the consultation paper is to be submitted by 7th February. Those interested in the implications of this should attend our Skills’ Summit event on 18 Feb – see above or contact Read more

    Shale gas and oil regulatory roadmap published for consultation

    The Government has published for consultation a regulatory roadmap for shale oil and gas developers along with Strategic Environment Assessment report. The regulatory roadmap sets out the series of permits and permissions developers need to obtain prior to drilling for onshore oil and gas. The consultation will run until March. Read more

    Publications and Toolkits

    Loss of local authority conservation staffing

    A new report by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), supported by English Heritage, shows a continued decline in local authority conservation staffing with a reduction in 4% in 2012, part of a ‘devastating 33% cut since 2006’. Those interested in the implications of this should attend our Skills’ Summit event on 18 Feb – see above or contact Read more

    English Heritage Searchable database of heritage planning

    A searchable database of heritage planning and court cases has been produced by English Heritage to help access court cases to give involved parties the ability to challenge opinions from planning inspectors. Access it here

    HTF membership

    We invite professionals working in the historic built environment to join the membership. If you would like to enjoy the benefits such as discounts to our topical events and the chance to network with our Local Authority, Corporate, Private and Individual members, as well as with Agencies, Civic Societies, Community Groups and Sponsors, please visit this link to our website to join.


About us

The Historic Towns Forum (HTF) has been supporting professionals and other members working in the historic built environment since 1987. Why not become a Member? Special events’ discounts and other benefits are available for members.



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