Press Release

Press Release

Managing Contemporary and Historic Design and Development - Oxford, Tour and seminar on Wednesday 13 September 2017

The city of Oxford is known world-wide for its historic built environment, shaped largely by the architecture of its university and 44 colleges.  With a long tradition of patrons supporting remarkable buildings, this trend continues today and provides fascinating exemplars for how to manage historic environments and embrace challenging new architecture.

This two-part walking tour and seminar is an opportunity to visit developments built over the last 10 years in their urban context, and discuss ways of balancing historic and contemporary design.

The day will be useful to local authority officers and councillors with planning and design portfolios, conservation officers, developers, architects, urban designers and planners in private practice, town and parish councillors, and civic society members. 

Speakers will include:

  • Steven Parissien, Director, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, who will also lead the walking tour
  • Michael Crofton-Briggs, Oxford City Council's former Head of City Development
  • Alan Berman, Panellist, Oxford Design Review Panel
  • Debbie Dance, Director, Oxford Preservation Trust
  • Christina Duckett, Principal Conservation Officer, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

This event offers:

  • A first-hand appreciation of contemporary development within an historic setting

  • An understanding of how planning guidance and decision-making frameworks are established and used

  • The opportunity to discuss guidance and its interpretation with key figures in the city

  • An awareness of the main issues for guiding and promoting good contemporary design

  • An appreciation of key conservation and urban design principles

  • Greater confidence in decision-making on design in historic places or conservation area settings.

 

The programme for the day is now available below, and tickets range from £35-120 and so please book your place at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/managing-historic-and-contemporary-development-oxford-registration-36268737771?aff=weblink

 

We look forward to seeing you then!

The HTVF Team

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HTVF invites applicants to join Board

Are you a senior local authority officer with responsibilities for conservation and design?  The Historic Towns and Villages Forum is interested to hear from members who have experience of local planning authorities to join its Board, which meets around four times per year.  

 

Now in its 30th year and with the patronage of HRH Prince Charles, the HTVF is looking forward to a new era of hosting events, providing best practice guidance and developing research to support those who design and manage change in historic places.  Our recent alliance with ASHTAV and home within Kellogg College in Oxford mean that these are exciting times for the HTVF and we are keen to have greater representation from the public sector on our Board.

 

If you are interested, please send your details to the Chair Tony Wyatt tonywyatt@plusud.co.uk.

The HTVF Team

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Historic Towns Forum says NPPF is better than it might have been

NEWS RELEASE - 28 March 2012

  1. The NPPF, published by the Government yesterday, has addressed a lot of the concerns that were expressed by all parties of the deeply-flawed original. For that we may thank the Planning Minister Greg Clarke, who acted in a similarly responsible manner with suggested improvements to the Localism Bill last year.  The Historic Towns Forum is particularly pleased to see the Government’s strengthening of the town centre first principle, and the recognition of tourism as a significant contribution to successful centres.
  2. The revision of PPS5 Planning and the Historic Environment in 2009 proved a good example of how Government Policy could be made significantly more focused and precise without losing the necessary influence and control. The HTF is pleased to see its essence retained in the NPPF. That was achieved through extremely careful drafting.  Brevity doesn’t necessarily guarantee simplicity however, and the imprecise language scattered throughout the NPPF is likely to increase rather than decrease uncertainty. The inclusion of opinion and guidance among the policy is a recipe for confusion, along with the liberal use of value-laden terms such as significant, appropriate, great weight, poor design – open to varying interpretation.
  3. Inflammatory Government statements elsewhere on the inadequacy of the planning system, notably in the Chancellor’s budget speech, are given little attention by most of those actively involved in planning and development. The HTF agrees with the view recently expressed by the British Property Federation, that there is more consensus between the various interests in planning and development than the Government seems to think.   The planning system is not an obstacle to development.  It provides the rules of engagement on which the development industry relies.  If some activities are not approved, that is because their impact would be unacceptable. That is not a constraint on growth, but a way of directing growth towards long term success - for everyone.
  4. To whatever extent the NPPF modifies national planning policy, the planning system remains the same.  Successive Governments have tinkered with the planning system to no great effect, but its inefficiencies stem largely from repeated attempts to improve democratic access to it.  It remains the Forum’s view that the best way of improving the planning system is to improve the representativeness of the local authorities charged with implementing it.
  5. In deleting all the Planning Policy Statements that came before, the NPPF severs the link to the valuable stock of guidance that helped provide the basis for negotiation between different interests and opinions.  Without that, the HTF fears that the new policy regime will increase rather than reduce the costs and timescales for decision-making. The NPPF references to local plans suggest the demise of Local Development Frameworks, but there is no explanation of how or by when this is to be achieved.  The setting of a 12 month transition period allowing local planning authorities to adapt to the new regime, while declaring its policies immediately material to decision-making, will add to confusion.
  6. A lot is being made by the Government of the “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.  The only novelty here is the introduction of the term sustainable. This should be encouraging, but much hangs on the definition.  The Minister’s introduction to the NPPF suggests that the Government has accepted that this requires a balance of social, environmental and economic factors.  This is a welcome move away from the primacy of the latter in the first draft. Whether the absence of any precise definition will be helpful remains to be seen.
  7. The passing reference to “following the principles of garden cities” in the NPPF (para 52) is intriguing, especially as the Prime Minister, also referred to garden cities in his recent speech on the nation’s infrastructure.   It is good to see the Government recognising the value of historic places.  There are lots of others too, created with enlightened private investment – such as Saltaire, Bournville, New Lanark, Port Sunlight, New Earswick. The communities in these places continue to prize and protect their historic character and the quality of life to which it contributes.  The NPPF doesn’t enlarge on what principles it considers still relevant, but the HTF is ready to help identify and redefine these for the post–paternalism Twenty-first Century.
  8. Our historic towns and cities are living examples of how society’s changing needs can be accommodated within and around those places and features that mean the most to us. The Forum’s members, representing public and private sector interests, will continue to work together to identify and promote better practice in strengthening the performance of historic places for the future.
  9. The NPPF is not the carte blanche for development that some feared or hoped for, but the lack of greater clarity and precision, may make the everyday business of negotiating schemes through planning process more challenging.

/ends


Notes for editors

Contact:
Noël James, Director, Historic Towns Forum
Tel: 0117 9750459
Email: noel.james@uwe.ac.uk
Twitter: @HTF_

HTF Logo:  please call 0117 9750459 or email htf@uwe.ac.uk to request file.

More information:

Information about the Historic Towns Forum, its Membership, good practice guidance publications and activities can be obtained from www.historictownsforum.org

The Historic 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.

HTF is supported by:
Bircham Dyson Bell, CgMs, John Lewis Partnership, Land Securities and University of the West of England

HTF patron: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales

HTF Director to lead examination of Mary Portas High Street Review and retail revivification in historic town centres

A director from the historic built environment sector is to chair an event that will look at the impact of changing retail patterns in our historic town centres.

Dr Noël James, who heads up the Historic Towns Forum, is to lead a one day session on March 23 that will examine the practicalities and implications behind the Mary Portas High Street Review. The Review was carried out under the direction of the Department of Business, Innovation, Skills (BIS) and looks to address increasing issues within retail on the high street.

The event, called ‘Retail, the High Street Review, and the revivification of historic cores’, will be run by the Historic Towns Forum (HTF), of which Noël is Director, with significant input from English Heritage, and will be co-sponsored by Bircham Dyson Bell, a leading legal firm which advises English Heritage.

Noël said: “The Portas Review has split opinion among those who work in retail and our town centres. It is vital that local authorities, conservation, construction, planning and urban design professionals and key regional stakeholders all understand the impact it will have and how it will make a difference to the way we view retail activities moving forward. For the HTF this is particularly relevant in historic cores where there is often a difficulty or sensitivity in finding sensitive retail solutions for historic high streets, especially where they are in conservation areas or have high concentrations of listed buildings. We aim to show how historic cores can accommodate successful new retail developments and to offer solutions for existing historic cores.

“The HTF is in place to help encourage collaboration between local authorities and professionals working in the historic built environment, and provide linkages, so the Portas Review and any links to the historic high street are clearly key concerns for us. We’re very grateful for the support of organisations such as Bircham Dyson Bell as they allow us to continue this work and ultimately ensure the creation and conservation of environments that the entire community can enjoy.”

Speakers from the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG), Bircham Dyson Bell, Association of Town Centre Management, VisitEngland, English Heritage, CgMs, Land Securities, CORD Ltd, +Plus Urban Design, Historic Towns Forum, British Parking Association, Local
Government Association, and Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners will also be speaking at the event.

“The combined experience of 25 years working with public and private sector bodies in the historic built environment has equipped the HTF with a deep understanding of how different organisations approach the implementation of design and planning in the retail sector. Putting this experience into use means that we can help to facilitate our members’ understanding of the Portas Review and its associated implications.

 “Assisting local authorities and other local stakeholders to make these areas understandable to their communities will enable HTF and partners to make valuable contributions to local placemaking. Working with private sector organisations as well as the public sector will, in turn, mean that they have a greater appreciation of the issues involved with changing planning processes.”

‘Retail, the High Street Review and the revivification of historic cores’ is to be held at Bircham Dyson Bell, 50 Broadway, London, and SW1 H0BL on March 23. Those interested in attending should see the following link: http://www.historictownsforum.org/london12_2 or contact Helen Johnson, Marketing and Communications, Historic Towns Forum on Helen.Johnson@uwe.ac.uk or 0117 975 0459.

/ends

Historic Towns Forum Director to lead examination of Localism Act

A director from the historic built environment sector is to chair an event that will look at the impact of large scale changes to planning legislation. 

Dr Noël James, who heads up the Historic Towns Forum, is to lead a one day session on February 21 that will examine the practicalities behind Eric Pickles’ controversial Localism Bill, a Bill that has now become an Act of Parliament.  The Act proposes to give local authorities and people the power to shape their own communities by, amongst other measures, providing the potential power to veto planning applications made by developers.  

The event, called Understanding Localism, will be run by the Historic Towns Forum (HTF), of which Noël is Director, and is co-sponsored Bircham Dyson Bell, a leading legal firm who advises English Heritage.

Noëlsaid: “The Localism Act represents a shift change in the way towns and communities are developed.  It is vital that local authorities, conservation, construction, planning and urban design professionals and key regional stakeholders all understand the impact it will have and how it will make a difference to community planning. 

“The HTF is in place to help encourage collaboration between local authorities and professionals working in the historic built environment, and provide linkages, so the Localism Act is clearly a key issue to us.  We’ve very grateful for the support of organisations such as Bircham Dyson Bell as they allow us to continue this work and ultimately ensure the creation and conservation of environments that the entire community can enjoy.” 

Speakers from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Bircham Dyson Bell, Henry Russell, Chair of the Spatial Planning Advocacy Group, Heritage Alliance,and leading practitioners Locality will also be speaking at the event. 

“The combined experience of 25 years working with public and private sector bodies in the historic built environment has equipped the HTF with a deep understanding of how different organisations approach the implementation of new legislation. Putting this experience into use means that we can help to facilitate our members’ understanding of the Localism Act on a practical level. 

“Assisting local authorities and other local stakeholders to make the new legislation understandable to their communities will enable HTF and partners to make valuable contributions to local placemaking.  Working with private sector organisations as well as the public sector will, in turn, mean that they have a greater appreciation of the issues involved with changing planning processes.  It is this collaboration that will mean the Act is accepted with minimum disruption and maximum benefit to everyone.” 

Understanding Localism is to be held at Bircham Dyson Bell, 50 Broadway, London
SW1H 0BL. Those interested in attending should see the following link: www.historictownsforum.org/london12_1or contact Helen Johnson, Marketing and Communications, Historic Towns Forum on Helen.Johnson@uwe.ac.ukor 0117 975 0459.

 

/ends

HTF Responds to NPPF

The Historic Towns Forum welcomes the chance to comment on the National Planning Policy Framework. While there is much in the NPPF that is uncontroversial, drawing heavily on existing policy, there are several unsatisfactory elements that the HTF is concerned about and feels need further clarity.

It is difficult to comment on the NPPF in isolation. So much will depend upon the status and content of supporting guidance which should ideally have been issued as part of the same consultation.

Generally the document is less clear than existing policy and is too open to interpretation. To enable economic development, investment and growth, which is the intention, the planning system needs to provide certainty. This is essential for creating investor confidence. It is likely therefore that the NPPF will have a negative impact on investor confidence.

HTF’s Director, Noël James, commented that ‘there is an imperative need for Government to understand the relationship between the quality of the built environment (old and new) and an area’s ability to attract investment. It is essential that the planning system provides the certainty and level of quality assurance necessary to create conditions for entrepreneurial activity. The worry is that the NPPF could actually undermine the ability of many areas to attract jobs and investment. In addition it should be written to apply to all of the country, not just higher growth areas like the south-east.’

‘Town and country planning should be a single activity. Our urban and rural settlements are mutually dependent. National planning policies must strengthen the bonds between communities and not become a means of exclusion.’

The HTF feels that much higher priority should be given to the importance of design and heritage protection. The role of both in securing growth and regeneration, physical and economic, should be given greater priority. HTF feels it necessary to highlight the inherent sustainability of historic towns versus the real conundrum implicit in the term sustainable development as the draft guidance would see it applied. More clarity is required here.

The historic environment is a proven driver of economic prosperity. The distinctive character of our historic towns and cities reflect the investment of individuals, businesses and communities over centuries. These places continue to attract investment because they are successful. People choose to live in, work in, and visit them. Businesses will invest where they find custom. It is important that the NPPF recognises that the historic environment is a means with which to promote growth and entrepreneurship, and that this should be allowed and legislated for in a way that protects and incorporates the historic environment, and not in a way that damages it or the inward and external investment it continues to attract.


HTF, in partnership with Bath Preservation Trust, will be holding a practical half-day workshop on 30 September to help you shape your responses. This will be led by CLG and other experts in the field. Find out more and book your place.

MBE awarded to Stephen Langtree for long standing service to The Chester Civic Trust

Stephen LangtreeHTF Media Release - 17 June 2011

Long standing Historic Towns Forum Executive Committee Member Stephen Langtree has been awarded an MBE for his long standing service to The Chester Civic Trust.  Everyone at the HTF would like to congratulate him on receiving this well deserved award.

On receiving his MBE Stephen said: “It came as a great shock, it’s a wonderful honour. I never expected it for one minute.  Some colleagues in The Chester Civic Trust nominated me.  It was our golden jubilee last year and they put the nomination in then. It is just wonderful.”

Last year Stephen produced a booklet, Conservation Area Awareness, funded by English Heritage and previously he co-edited 2000 Years of Building: Chester's Architectural Legacy.

Stephen has sacrificed a great deal of his spare time and is very dedicated to conserving the historic built environment.  In 2001 Stephen helped set up the North West Association of Civic Trusts and Societies (NWACTS) where he was chairman for the first five years and represents the organisation on the NW Historic Environment Forum.

ENDS


NOTES

Contact:

Noël James, Director, Historic Towns Forum
noel.james@uwe.ac.uk
Telephone: 0117 9750459

Further information:

Review and download of Conservation Area Awareness
http://www.historictownsforum.org/node/556

The Chester Civic Trust
http://www.chestercivictrust.org.uk/

North West Association of Civic Trusts and Societies
http://www.nwacts.org.uk/

Historic Towns Forum
http://www.historictownsforum.org

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.

Ends


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: 
http://www.heritageaudit.org.uk/findings.htm

The Cadw report can be downloaded from:
http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp?id=21&NewsId=313

The English report can be downloaded from: 
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/content/imported-docs/HC-Eng-2010
www.english-heritage.org.uk/heritagecounts

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.

HTF appoints new Director

HTF Media Release - 26 October 2010

Dr Noël James will take over the role of Director at the Historic Towns Forum (HTF) on 1 November. Noël comes from a research background, and joins HTF with several years’ experience in the heritage sector. She has a particular personal interest in the built environment and is keen to promote partnership working across all areas of historic towns. “It is an important and interesting time to be working with the Forum, more so now that issues such as climate change, sustainability and transport, which so greatly affect historic towns, have come to the fore. I am eager to build on the impressive foundations that the current Director has left, and I wish Chris well and extend my thanks to her for all her hard work over the years.”

Outgoing Director, Chris Winter, said that she was sad to be leaving in many ways as the Forum and its Members and Partners had become a large part of her life. “It is time to move on” she added, “for me, and for the Forum. I wish Noël well and will watch with great interest as the Forum continues to grow and thrive.” 

The recent Annual Conference, ‘Climate change: mitigation and adaptation in historic towns’ held in Oxford, showed that there is an appetite to address the aforementioned issues in the year ahead, as well as to focus on community engagement and tourism.

One of the Forum’s immediate aims is to highlight the value of historic towns as places to work, live and visit, and as drivers in promoting the economic upturn through regeneration and tourism. The Forum would very much like to hear from new partners, sponsors and members who would like to become involved with their work.

26 October 2010

Ends


Notes for editors

Information about the Historic Towns Forum, its Membership, good practice guidance publications and activities can be obtained from www.historictownsforum.org

Contact the office on 0117 975 0459 or Dr Noël James, HTF Director – noel.james@uwe.ac.uk

View the HTF Annual Conference, ‘Climate change: mitigation and adaptation in historic towns’ speakers' presentations.  The conference report will be available soon.

TheHistoric Towns Forum (HTF) 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.

HRH The Prince of Wales becomes Patron of the Historic Towns Forum

HRH The Prince of Wales has become the Patron of the Historic Towns Forum (HTF) bringing together The Prince's great interest in the built environment with that of the Forum's work for our historic towns and cities.
 
The support of The Prince is an important recognition of the Forum which seeks to share best practice across our historic towns and cities supporting those on the ground to do their work better and more efficiently embrace  the best of the new whilst recognising the contributions of the past and the importance that heritage can make to quality of life and the making of places.
 
The Forum's great strength is in bringing together professionals from across all areas of the historic built environment, public, private and third sector, a role it has taken since 1987, offering events and publications on topical issues, and providing a strong platform to influence policy makers on behalf of our historic towns and cities.  
 
Over the next year the HTF's work will cover PPS15, Community Engagement and the Local Agenda, the importance of Local Distinctiveness, Historic Towns and Climate Change, together with ongoing research on Park & Ride and the Growth of our Historic Towns.
 
Debbie Dance, HTF Chair said “We are delighted that The Prince of Wales has become our Patron at such an interesting time, when there is so much pressure on our towns and cities to change and an inherent need to get that change right if we can. Our job at the Forum is in making the right conversations happen and the Prince's support will help us to do just that”.