It’s been 2 years since HTF dropped the ‘England’ from its title and became a UK–wide organisation. While it’s clear that Localism is here to stay, it’s also clear that this should not mean encouraging isolation within communities or within countries. Rather, we should be encouraging diversity but simultaneously sharing good practice and experience far beyond our local remits. While Localism as we in England know it has not yet, and may not, be extended to the rest of the UK or the Republic of Ireland that does not mean that those areas do not have their own distinctive local conservation, planning, and legislative issues. They do. And the HTF agrees that we need to engage with them more fully in order to be a wholly inclusive organisation.
We recently sent out a membership survey and the responses that stick in my mind are from the membership in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, asking for more joint working. And so that is what we will do. So far this month we have held successful meetings with Cadw, BEFS, and Historic Scotland; imminent meetings are planned in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We have invited Cadw and Historic Scotland to sit on our Executive Board to complete our membership from across the UK and Republic of Ireland. We are already planning joint events UK–wide but would like your input on what you want to see and what you think needs to be addressed. What are the local needs affecting Historic Towns in your area this year? How best can we serve the HTF membership? Just as Localism is here to stay, so is the ethos of the Big Society. We intend to embrace it – we hope that you will join us.