May 2011

Historic Towns Forum Update

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Localism Bill has reached the Commons Report Stage

The Localism Bill will make significant changes to the planning system and its main provisions are expected to come into force in April 2012. It has now reached the Report Stage and Third Reading which will take place in the House of Commons on 17 and 18 May. This means that MPs will have the opportunity to debate and suggest changes to the Bill’s content. Monitor progress at The Report Stage
Find out more about the progression of the Bill at: Understanding Localism seminar, Chester, 17 June - BOOK NOW

Understanding Localism: Chester, 17 June
Focus on Town and Parish Councils

Town and Parish Councils are at the heart of all localities – they are often the first place people go to find out what is happening around change, legislation and important issues within their communities. They are the only truly local tax raiser and can be a major catalyst for beneficial, sustainable, local change, supported by the people that they know and speak to. It is important that they are well informed about the implications of the Localism Bill as they are likely to become essential in the development process around Neighbourhood Forums, Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders.
HTF are delivering an Understanding Localism seminar in Chester on 17 June and invite you to find out about its progress through Parliament, its main provisions and amendments to date and how communities in our towns and cities can use the opportunities in the Bill to best advantage. All welcome Further information and booking form

Town and Parish Membership of HTF - fees reduced by 50%

HTF is pleased to announce that it will lower the Town and Parish Council Annual Membership fee from £200 to £100 effective immediately. With decentralisation and the Localism Bill, Towns and Parishes will be granted more powers. HTF recognises the value of heritage to smaller places and how important it is to offer guidance and a professional network of support to better manage the historic environment. Read more

More Going for Purple Flag workshops planned

There is a huge interest in the Purple Flag Award which recognises excellent place management in towns and city centres at night. Following a well received free workshop, hosted by the Association of Town Centre Management and HTF earlier this year, giving guidance on how to assemble a successful Purple Flag entry, another two workshops are planned: 22 July in Chester - book now and 6 October, Glasgow - register your interest.

BIS produces LEPs toolkit

The Government is introducing a new approach to economic development in England, which will give businesses and local communities new freedoms to drive growth. Local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) are at the heart of this. HTF have recognised the importance of this and have already begun to engage with LEPs, with an engagement event held in London in April, and further events planned for the North (date tbc) and the East of England on 28 July - register your interest.
Find out more about the toolkit.

The Government finally acknowledges the importance of town centres, and the need for them to thrive!

In what was a clear fillip for town centres, on 17 May the Government announced the appointment of Mary Portas to carry out a project with the objective of helping to reduce the number of vacant shops in town centres. Read more

£3.2M funding granted to provide free advice to support Neighbourhood Planning

Communities will be able to choose to take up free advice and guidance depending on their needs through The Prince's Foundation, Locality, The Royal Town Planning Institute, and the National Association of Local Councils in partnership with the Campaign to Protect Rural England ... read more
The Prince's Foundation are now inviting enquiries for free community engagement planning ... more information and application form

Regional Growth Fund

Reminder that round two of bidding for the Regional Growth Fund is now open with a closing date of noon on 1 July 2011. Read more
For the success of the Prince’s Regeneration Trust in the first round for Middleport Pottery in Stoke on Trent ... read more

Community Infrastructure Levy Front Runners Project 2 and CIL guidance published

In December 2010, CLG invited all English local authorities to apply to become part of their Community Infrastructure Levy Front Runners project. The project was aimed at supporting local authorities to develop the best approach to implementing the Community Infrastructure Levy in their local area. Read more
CIL Regulations work in practice
CIL Front Runners Project

Local plan advice from CLG

Planning minister Bob Neill has written to all local authority chief planning officers in England flagging up the withdrawal of guidance on local plan monitoring and signalling that the Department for Communities and Local Government will no longer monitor the preparation and content of local plans. Councils will now be expected to notify the Planning Inspectorate three months before the publication of any development plan document. Neill’s letter also clarified various procedural matters following the closure of the Government Offices.
Access the letter here

CLG’s ‘sustainable development’ reminder

CLG’s Chief planner Steve Quartermain has written to chief planning officers in England drawing their attention to key announcements made as part of the Budget, in particular the need ‘to ensure that planning supports the sustainable development’.
A useful summary of the announcements.

Communities and Local Government Business Plan

The CLG Business Plan was published on 13 May 2011 as part of a coordinated relaunch of departmental business. The republished Plan contains the changes adopted following the consultation on the indicators and information strategy. It also contains an update of the Structural Reform Plan showing what actions have been completed to date and includes new actions to reflect new policies including the Growth Review. Download the CLG Business Plan

DCMS Revised Business Plan

The DCMS revised Business Plan was released on 13 May. It contains the finalised and agreed input and impact indicators from the recent consultation. Read more from DCMS and from

Scottish regeneration discussion

The Scottish Government have published a discussion paper Building a Sustainable Future to prompt and encourage practitioners and other stakeholders to engage in further discussion. Get involved and have your say.

Energy Bill second reading

The Energy Bill second reading was delivered on May 10 2011. The Energy Bill has been designed to provide for a step change in the provision of energy efficiency measures to homes and businesses. It aims to put in place a framework to deliver a future with secure, low-carbon energy supplies and fair competition in energy markets.
Of particular interest to HTF members will be the sections on energy and fuel, environmental protection, general environment and planning land and premises. Read more.

HTF towns are finalists in the 2012 Urbanism Awards

HTF are pleased to see some of our Members' towns included in the Academy of Urbanism 2012 Awards finalists, including: Bury St Edmunds for Great Town; Accordia, Cambridge, for Great Neighbourhood; Steep Hill, Lincoln, for Great Street; and Queen Square, Bristol, for Great Place. See full list of finalists.

Students! Enter for the IHBC Award for £300 cash prize

The closing date for the IHBC’s Annual Gus Astley Student Award, 31 July 2011, is fast approaching, and students should consider submitting relevant course work for this prestigious Award and its £300 prize, while course providers are encouraged to circulate the notices on the IHBC Award to their students. Read more

RTPI Awards for Projects and Awards for People both close on 31 May

The Awards for Projects recognise innovative plans, processes, techniques, information systems, programmes of community involvement and improvements to public services. Entries are welcomed from a wide range of organisations and with no requirement to be RTPI members. The Awards for People aim to identify exemplary practice in the planning consultancy sector, in learning and development (recognising students, planning schools and employers) and among young planners. Find out more

Heritage Open Days - breaking news!

It has just been announced that the Heritage Alliance, the National Trust and Civic Voice are part of a consortium that will take over the national co-ordination of Heritage Open Days (HODs) from 1 October this year.
HODs is England’s largest grassroots heritage event, delivered by an army of volunteers up and down the country, taking place annually on the second weekend in September. English Heritage will continue to fund HODs until March 2015 and will remain responsible for the HODs weekend in September 2011. Read more

London 2012 Open Weekend

Open Weekend is the annual countdown celebration to the opening of the London 2012 Games, a moment of mass participation incorporating arts, cultural, sporting and environmental initiatives. Registration closes on Monday 27th June, however, if you register your event by Friday 27th May you’ll be guaranteed inclusion in the public launch, which takes place on 6th June. Read more

Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies

A special group is being formed in the Houses of Parliament which will be open to all MPs and members of the House of Lords with the aim of raising the profile of civic societies and amenity groups, to give them support and strenghthn their roles. Read more.

Much needed review and update of BS 7913

Following consultation on the business case for a revision of BS 7913: 1998 (Guide to the principles of the conservation of historic buildings), led by Henry Russell IHBC, it has been agreed the revision should progress, while John Edwards IHBC, of English Heritage, will chair the task group. Read more.

Innovative solution to network old buildings without compromise

HTF Member - Freedom Digital Networks Ltd (FDN) - has the perfect way to network any listed building by simply injecting a digital signal into the electrical wiring the building already has, bypassing the need for new cabling and phone sockets, but most importantly, bypassing the need for any major work to walls or flooring. The FDN network has been designed to overcome the typical problems on a listed site. Broadband, CCTV, VoIP telephony, IPTV, data access, interactive touch screen displays, room management and control, footfall monitoring, PA systems and many other services can all be provided at the same time using their unique technology with no mess! No downtime! Just a solution to an age old problem. Read the full article and find out more about the FDN Heritage Solution.

New English Heritage guidance: Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings

This guidance provides technical advice to help prevent conflicts between the energy efficiency requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations and the conservation of historic and traditionally constructed buildings. It covers areas as diverse as energy and fuel, environmental protection, leisure, culture, and planning land and premises. Download the publication

Edinburgh's post-war architecture to be celebrated

The Forth Road Bridge, the Scottish Widows Head Office Building and the Royal Botanic Gardens Greenhouse are all to be featured in a new book celebrating Edinburgh’s post-war architecture. Read more


Architectural Styles, Periods and Vocabulary, UWE Short Couse Unit, Bristol, 9-10 June
Understanding Localism, HTF, Chester, 17 June
Annual School, IHBC, Llandudno, 16-18 June
Going for Purple Flag workshop, HTF/ATCM, Chester, 22 July
Engaging with LEPs, HTF, Bury St Edmunds, 28 July
Going for Purple Flag workshop, HTF/BEFS/ATCM Glasgow, 6 October

Consultations and responses

Upcoming consultations:

Recent HTF responses: