2010 news articles

2010 news articles

The Setting of Heritage Assets - consultation

English Heritage invites your views on 'The Setting of Heritage Assets: English Heritage guidance'. The planning policy framework for the historic environment, including policies and guidance on setting, has been provided by Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment and its supporting Historic Environment Planning Practice Guide, published in March 2010. 

Individuals and organisations are invited to comment on draft guidance offered by English Heritage on the interpretation of the policies and guidance on setting, and in particular, on

  • the definition of setting
  • the contribution that setting makes to the heritage significance of places
  • approaches to assessing the implications of change within setting.

The consultation document includes the consultation questions and instructions on how to respond. 
See: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/heritage-assets-draft/

HTF wil respond formally to this in due course.

Closing date for responses is Friday 26th November

Featured Member: Blue Sail

Blue Sail Directors from l to r – Michele Grant, Graham Nicholson, Amanda Shepherd, Lorna EastonBlue Sail is a destination consultancy specialising in tourism and the visitor economy.

We work with destinations across the UK – helping them to develop better visitor experiences, better destination management, clearer visioning and planning, more effective branding and marketing and stronger partnerships.

Our clients range from towns and cities through waterfronts and quarters, to museums and attractions.

Blue Sail was launched in January 2007 by some of the UK’s most experienced destination consultants – previously senior practitioners working in-house in destination development and marketing, heritage and cultural services, at national, regional and city levels.  

We're used to working in complex situations - as practitioners and as consultants. We understand partnerships and organisations and how to help them grow. We know the importance of engaging with stakeholders.  We know what it takes to get private and public sectors talking and working together.

You can see the wide range of projects in our portfolio pages on our website.  By way of example, here is a little about four very different projects we’ve been working on recently: 

Tatton Park: Blue Sail has been supporting the senior management team at Tatton Park over an extended period to review its vision and forward development options for the estate. Cheshire East Council manages the property and is prepared to invest in its attractions and visitor services to make it more self-reliant financially in the longer term. 

York: This year we’ve been exploring the opportunities to tell a new story about historic and contemporary York for York City Council and the York Economic Partnership.   We worked with key stakeholders  we established commitment to aligning how York is marketed across its various audiences including visitors, students and inward investors.   We’ve developed a new Shared Story™ and York Vocabulary to  describe and differentiate the city - reflecting its exceptional heritage but also ‘turning up the volume’ on York’s business, research and academic attributes. 

Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site: We are often asked to set up delivery organisations or work with partnerships to agree visions and priorities.  For example, this summer we designed and facilitated a visioning workshop for the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site executive group, to kickstart their work on their next Management Plan.  We took this high-powered group of museums directors and senior officers through a packed programme of creative exercises, looking ahead five and 10 years to identify potential and priorities. 

Cardiff: We’re often called on to develop Tourism Strategies for destinations. A recent example is the new Tourism Strategy for Cardiff that built on the tremendous progress in the city’s visitor offer, not least at Cardiff Bay.   We provided recommendations for further product development, for the public realm, infrastructure and transport and for visitor services and information. The Strategy is accompanied by a practical action plan. 

As well as working on strategic planning, we are increasingly helping clients with service delivery. 
Find out more at : http://bluesail.com/news.htm

Michele GrantBlue Sail Logo
Blue Sail
November 2010

Purple Flag Awards recognise excellence in place management

Purple Flag is an award scheme offered by the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM), which recognises excellence in place management in town & city centres at night, setting standards going forward for managing successful evening economies and benchmarking performance.

The initiative aims to improve perceptions of places, address imbalances in activities, retail offer and entertainment, tackle anti-social behaviour, and encourage a diverse evening offer; providing significant recognition for councils and partnerships who deliver key services associated with the night-time economy.

ATCM CEO Martin Blackwell comments, "Our towns and cities must adapt. Retailing is important but not the whole story. Those centres that thrive in the future will be those that have a more balanced economy and utilise their assets 24/7.

Purple Flag really is an exciting initiative. This programme offers the opportunity for national recognition of excellent strategies and best practice across these areas for a variety of places. The scheme will help drive up standards and replace negative perceptions with positive visions by rewarding well-managed evening and night time economies."

Developed by a team of industry experts since 2003, Purple Flag is rigorous accreditation process that helps to tackle many prominent issues associated with night time economy management and is supported by the Home Office, Association of Chief Police Officers, Local Government Regulation (LACORS), NOCTIS, Diageo, and many other high profile national bodies. The scheme focuses on four key themes encompassed by a policy envelope: wellbeing, appeal, place, and movement providing a solid framework for assessment.

The scheme’s increasing popularity has led to a record number of applications for the latest round following the success of the initial rounds in 2009, which saw the likes of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bath, Kingston, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden gain full accreditation.

The latest round (June 2010) generated interest from a range of places, including smaller towns, with High Wycombe and Halifax being awarded Purple Flag Status. It proves that if a centre offers a clean & safe environment, diverse activities & retail offer, excellent transport links, and a great nightlife then the Purple Flag award applies regardless of size/population - it is all in the context! 

Halifax's Deputy Mayor Keith Watson said: "This award is great news for Halifax. It means our town has national recognition as a place that's safe and welcoming to everyone with a good mix of venues and attractions. We will continue to work hard to make sure Halifax keeps this status and continues to offer a safe and enjoyable experience to visitors of all ages, including families."

Round 3 (October 2010 - January 2011) of Purple Flag aplications is now open. Please visit www.purpleflag.org.uk or contact Daniel McGrath daniel.mcgrath@atcm.org to register your interest and discuss your future involvement.

Daniel McGrath
ATCM Project Manager
November 2010


Sustainability Appraisals and Refurbishment

Sustainability 2010 style - crush and bury on siteDespite claims to the contrary by the development industry, there has been an increasing awareness that reusing existing buildings can be as sustainable as new-build, due in large part to the amount the waste inherent in demolition and the energy required to produce and transport new building materials. Further claims are made that retention / refurbishment can often be more desirable - visually, socially and in terms of quantity and locality of labour and in terms of life-span, as historic buildings last longer and hold their value better than new ones. These principles are now very much to the fore in PPS5 (notably Policy HE.1), PPS5 Planning Practice Guide, The Government’s Statement on the Historic Environment for England 2010 and in guidance from DEFRA's waste advisors WRAP, e.g. 'Designing out Waste - A Design Team Guide for Buildings' (WRAP, 2010).

With its key strengths in sustainable development, RPS is a UK market leader in the provision of sustainability appraisals and carbon footprinting for developments of all sizes, ranging from single buildings to major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail. For residential and commercial developments, this usually consists of pro-forma sustainable building appraisals under BREEAM or the Code for Sustainable Homes.

RPS has been aware for some time that its refurbishment clients feel that BREEAM and CfSH give inadequate recognition to the merits of reusing built fabric. So long as landfill is not involved, the methodologies make no discrimination between existing fabric being crushed and buried on site, carefully salvaged for reuse or retained in a refurbished building. Each scores the same (1 credit or 1% of total possible score in BREEAM, for example). This is the same as the credit for providing a space for a recycling bin.

Pending hoped-for reform of industry sustainability appraisal methodologies, RPS is developing a methodology to assist its refurb clients through the sustainability benchmarking process. The cornerstone of this is the ability to calculate the energy embodied within an existing building, within the retained fabric of a refurbished building, within the new fabric of a refurbished building and within a comparable new-build. Qualitative environmental and social benefits are also stressed.

For a thoroughgoing industry-standard refurbishment of typical 3-storey Victorian terraced building, bringing it up to the standard of a comparable new build, refurbishment saved 25 Tonnes of CO2 (roughly 10% of operational energy over 50 years), assuming in both cases that all demolitions materials were recycled at highest value. With Pathfinder having proposed the demolition of 500,000 homes and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute promoting the replacement of 3.2 million homes by 2050, the benefits of making best use of the carbon locked up in our existing buildings deserves a higher profile.

Rob Kintchin-Smith
Senior Historic Environment Consultant
RPS Planning & Development
November 2010

Historic Environment Forum NEWS

The Historic Environment Forum (HEF, formerly the Historic Environment Review Executive Committee HEREC) met on 1 September 2010. 

The Future and the Priorities for Forum  

The Terms of Reference were considered at previous meetings of the Forum.  This meeting discussed a paper which outlined several issues and proposed changes.  Key points from the discussion were:  

  • Members felt that the Forum should retain an advocacy role only where it concerns an issue that is part of its current discussions.  It was felt inappropriate for the HEF to take on a more public profile – members believed that the Forum functioned most effectively as a body that brought together representatives across the sector, who might not otherwise meet.
  • The meeting agreed that further discussion on new members of the Forum should be postponed until the new arrangements had been given a chance to settle down.  However there was agreement that the association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO) should be invited to join.
  • The Forum agreed that it would be appropriate to move the secretariat functions to The Heritage Alliance.  
  • There was agreement that Heritage Counts should stay within English Heritage.

Responding to Consultations

HEF noted that there were many live discussions and consultations on Government policy currently taking place; and it was not possible to respond to every one, nor to attempt a single HEF response.  Members noted that while it may sometimes be inappropriate to share individual responses, it may be helpful to discuss them informally in the group.  There was agreement on the importance of encouraging responses from everyone to add volume and weight to the views of the heritage sector. 

Heritage Counts

The Forum was given a presentation on the draft report on the economic impact of heritage investment for Heritage Counts 2010.  Members were also given the opportunity to comment on the text.  The report was launched on 13thOctober 2010. 

HEF discussed the future direction of Heritage Counts and the specific themes for Heritage Counts 2011.  Confirmation of resources available for research and publication were not given, but there were not planned cuts.  HEF discussed potential themes, including skills, local authorities, the voluntary sector, the spending review, the 2012 Games and the ‘Big Society’.   A consensus was reached to base Heritage Counts 2011 around the theme of the ‘Big Society’. 


Duncan MacCallum (English Heritage (EH)) reported very briefly that: the HELM External Advisory Panel, e.g. RTPI, IHBC, could be linked into HEF and report to it; HEF could help in developing HELM; and HELM will continue, but EH is likely to be less hands on with training in future. 

English Heritage National Heritage Protection Plan

There has been a big response to the initial EH consultation and the main strategic parts of the Plan have been drafted and the detail is being worked up.  A Draft is to be published over the winter for refinement and the final Plan is expected to be in place for the start of the new financial year (2011-12).

Culture Sport and Evidence Programme

A presentation outlined the work of the CASE programme, which is looking at ways of quantifying the benefits of engagement in sport, the arts and heritage – it analyses drivers, impact and value.  The aim is help to influence DCMS policy and decision making.  Unfortunately limitations on the data mean little progress with the heritage aspects.  The meeting praised the programme, although caution was expressed over the issue of monetary valuation.  CMS stressed that this will not be the only route examined, just one of several strands.  It was also suggested that more research to understand the motivations of individual involvement in culture and sport is needed.   

Brian Human
9 November 2010

UK wide - heritage really counts

Heritage Counts 2010HTF Media Release - 13 October 2010

Prosperity and conserving our heritage go hand in hand.  That has always been the message of the Historic Towns Forum, which warmly welcomes the confirmation of this in Heritage Counts 2010

Britain’s historic towns are among our most prosperous and sustainable communities. Supporting this premise is Scotland’s Historic Environment Audit 2010 and Valuing the Welsh Historic Environment both published recently. Heritage Counts 2010, England, launched on 13 October 2010 demonstrates the value of continuing to invest in the historic environment.  The environmental benefits are accompanied by success in the delivery of wider social and economic goals.  

Heritage Counts shows the benefits arising from a sustainable tourism industry supported by investment.  The Historic Towns Forum stresses the need for this to be accompanied by an approach to destination management that balances the needs of visitors, businesses, the community and the environment. 

Debbie Dance, Chair of the Historic towns Forum, said, “Heritage Counts contains lots of excellent news, but we can’t rest on our laurels.  National and local government must ensure that conservation of our heritage is not marginalised in the anticipated round of budget cuts and changes to the planning system. 

“Whatever the future holds, the Forum will do all it can to work with partners across the heritage sector to support conservation and prosperity in historic towns,” she added.


Notes for editors

Information about the Historic Towns Forum, its Membership, good practice guidance publications and activities can be obtained from www.historictownsforum.org or by contacting the office on 0117 975 0459 or htf@uwe.ac.uk

The Scottish report or a summary can be downloaded from: 

The Cadw report can be downloaded from:

The English report can be downloaded from: 

TheHistoric Towns Forum (HTF) – formerly English Historic Towns Forum (EHTF) - has been supporting professionals working in the historic built environment since 1987.  The Forum’s events and publications focus on perennial and topical issues, drawing together practitioners across the disciplines and sectors.  This collective then offers a strong platform from which to lobby policy makers on behalf of historic towns and cities. 

HTF, through its Membership and Partnership schemes, offers everyone with an interest in the historic towns and cities of UK and Ireland an opportunity to exchange and develop ideas, and facilitates exchange with European colleagues.

2010 Photo Competition Winners

During 2010 HTF Members were invited to submit photographs depicting the following impacts on historic towns and cities:
Managing Growth/Housing
Public Realm/Streetscape
Heritage Led Regeneration
Retail Development
Sustainable Tourism
Transport and Traffic Management.
Photo competition Winners
From the 30+ excellent submissions of images, 12 were chosen by the Executive Committee at their July meeting. Chester Racecourse Logo

The overall winner of a day at the races which includes race day tickets, a 3 course à la carte meal in The Horse and Jockey restaurant at Chester Racecourse and a bottle of champagne, generously donated by Chester Racecourse, was Stephen Pigott from the City of York Council for the image of Kings Staith in York.
_space group logoThe 12 winning photographs will feature in HTF's 2011 calendar, which has been sponsored by _space group. The calendar will be circulated to main contact Members later this year.

Thank you to eveyone who participated and congratulations to Stephen!

Janet Duncton, Planning, Design and Heritage Portfolio, Chichester District Council

I can’t tell you how wholeheartedly I support the removal of so much of our street clutter and not just inner town but out on the rural highway.

In my very rural patch I have one long straight road which has no less than 14 signs along it’s length.  The last one coming south to north informs you that you can now overtake just were the double white lines start at the junction of another by-road.  Madness.

The other campaign I have been running without much support or success is the endless small yellow signs with houses on them attached to every available post.

Now I know that Developers  need customers and far be it for me to try and interfere with their business, but and it’s a big but,  surely if customers are looking for property in a certain area they either check out the Estate Agents or the web, the local newspaper or indeed the Developer of their desire.  Once they have made contact with whichever source for selling that they choose surely this source can give them directions to whichever of the developments the customer would like to view or am I just being difficult?

In the meantime these nasty little signs stay on every available pole for months and months and help to spoil the look of things in town and country.  It would appear that we can do nothing about them.  Any advise would be very gratefully received.

Ian Poole, Planning Policy & Specialist Services Manager, St Edmundsbury Borough Council

There are far too many instances of signs going up for no apparent reason.  “New road layout ahead” is my favourite.  To a stranger in the area, they didn't know what the old layout was and the signs stay up for years.  Just how long is “new”?

In Ipswich, a new “toucan” crossing has just been installed.  You cross when the green man says so.  So why have they painted “Look Left” on the road?  You don't need to look left when you cross because the traffic’s stopped.  If you cross at other times then don't you look automatically?

A lot can still be learnt from the Historic Core Zones project that the Forum managed in the late 1990’s.

Rosemary Read, Secretary, Hitchin Forum

Hitchin is another town which suffers from street clutter: speed humps, pictures on roads, flashing lights, traffic lights which are phased so that even able-bodied pedestrians have trouble crossing before the lights change, so how the elderly and disabled are supposed to manage is anyone’s guess.  

A recent visit to Bury St. Edmunds revealed that it is perfectly possible for a town centre to be both attractive and safe.  No bumps, signs, paint or lights, just attractive paving and good all-round vision, making it both easy and pleasant for drivers to be aware of their surroundings, other road users and pedestrians.

October 2010