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News

News and updates from The Heritage Alliance team.

More of the latest news from The Alliance, our members, and from across the independent heritage sector, can be found in our fortnightly e-bulletin, Heritage Update.


Latest e-briefing from The Heritage Alliance

May 27, 2016

Latest e-briefing from The Heritage Alliance

Issue 324 of Heritage Update has now been published.

The voice for the independent heritage movement, Heritage Update is a free e-bulletin produced on a fortnightly basis by The Heritage Alliance and distributed directly to subscribers’ inboxes and published online. A current affairs briefing on and for the heritage sector, Heritage Update has gone from strength to strength since its initiation in 2003, reaching the milestone of 300 issues in May 2015.

Highlights this fortnight include:

  • The Queen’s Speech 2016
  • Concerns over planning reforms
  • Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill
  • Private Members’ Bills Ballots
  • Skills shortage in archaeology hits the national news
  • Heritage Counts: Heritage and Society 2016

Heritage Update is circulated every alternative Friday with minor alteration to accommodate major holidays. The forthcoming schedule is as follows: 10th and 24th June 2016; 8th and 22nd July; and 5th and 19th August. The deadline for copy is the Wednesday before publication.

Heritage Update provides an effective means of recruitment, reaching some 14,000 inboxes. This service is offered free to Alliance members with a modest charge of £150, per ad per issue, to non-members. To advertise with us please contact the editor: tara-jane.sutcliffe@theheritagealliance.org.uk.

Update 324

Heritage & the EU: how the EU impacts on our heritage in England

May 20, 2016

Heritage & the EU: how the EU impacts on our heritage in England

The Heritage Alliance is not taking a formal position on the EU Referendum, in line with Charity Commission guidelines. In advance of the outcome of the vote on 23 June 2016, The Alliance has identified where the impact on our heritage, especially in the event of a Leave vote, deserves forward thinking.

The Heritage Alliance has today [20 May 2016] published a briefing on Heritage & the EU: how the EU impacts on our heritage in England.

There would be a minimum period after a Leave vote of two years during which time Britain would continue to abide by EU treaties and laws. This would be a critical negotiating period when the heritage sector and other interests would be pressing the UK/English government for replacement, relaxation or compensatory measures within whatever new relationship was proposed.

Equally, in the event of a Remain vote, the impact of EU regulations and funding on our heritage might also demand renewed advocacy by the Alliance and others.

Areas to be considered range from VAT to state aid and from tourism to the digital economy. A final section brings together some of the comment from other sectors that relate to our heritage – the research community, the environmentalists and the voluntary sector.

EU

The Queen’s Speech 2016

May 18, 2016

The Queen’s Speech 2016

The Government has today [18 May 2016] set out in the Queen’s Speech its policy intentions and proposed legislative programme for the forthcoming parliamentary year. The full text of the Speech, together with a briefing note from the Cabinet Office, is available online.

The key legislative areas affecting the heritage sector comprise the following:

  • Digital Economy Bill
  • Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill
  • Local Growth and Jobs Bill
  • Higher Education and Research Bill
  • National Citizen Service Bill
  • Small Charitable Donations Bill
  • Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill

For further details please read the Alliance’s on-the-day briefing.

Commentary from the sector will feature in a forthcoming issue of Heritage Update.

The Queen's Speech 2016

Heritage Update 323 now available

May 13, 2016

Heritage Update 323 now available

The latest issue of The Heritage Alliance’s fortnightly e-briefing, Heritage Update, has now been circulated, delivered straight to subscribers’ inboxes and available online.

Headlines this issue include:

  • Historic England, National Trust and English Heritage welcome ICOMOS/UNESCO report on Stonehenge tunnel plans
  • Select Committee Countries of Culture inquiry underway
  • Giving to Heritage programme – new training workshops added
  • Research Councils publish their Delivery Plans for 2016-2020

The next issue of Heritage Update will go live on Friday 27 May. We welcome your news; please send details to our editor: tara-jane.sutcliffe@theheritagealliance.org.uk.

Update 323

Alliance correspondence with Clive Betts MP, Chair of the CLG Select Committee

May 9, 2016

Alliance correspondence with Clive Betts MP, Chair of the CLG Select Committee

On the 20 April, The Heritage Alliance wrote to Clive Betts MP on the subject of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which the Labour MP chairs. The Commons Select Committee scrutinises the work of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and has been conducting an inquiry into Consultation on National Planning Policy. After receiving written and oral evidence, the Committee published its Report in April and response from Government is awaited.

The Alliance takes a strong interest in planning policies affecting the historic environment through its Spatial Planning Advocacy Group which draws on the knowledge and expertise in its membership, amongst which are several statutory consultees within the planning process.

The Heritage Alliance welcomed the opportunity in January to contribute written evidence to the Select Committee’s inquiry into Consultation on National Planning Policy. In its Report, the Committee has called upon Government to carry out a comprehensive review of the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) before the end of this Parliament. Writing to the Committee’s Chair and Ministers at DCLG, the Alliance has welcomed a review of the implementation and operation of NPPF, and in particular analysis of any evidence of unintended consequences to the historic environment.

Amongst other measures, the Committee has urged Government to revisit recommendations that Local Plan-making be made a statutory duty for Local Authorities. The Alliance supports a Local Plan-led approach to development, which protects the natural and historic environments and involves local communities, supported by the NPPF and associated guidance.

In a response dated 27 April, Mr Betts wrote: “Thank you for your interest in, and contribution to, our work. I look forward to the Alliance’s involvement in our future inquiries”.

The Spatial Planning Advocacy Group will maintain a watching brief on the work of the CLG Select Committee and DCLG’s response to the Committee’s recommendations.

House of Commons logo

Heritage Update issue 322

April 29, 2016

Heritage Update issue 322

Issue 322 of The Heritage Alliance’s fortnightly e-briefing Heritage Update goes out today [Friday 29 April 2016], delivered straight to subscribers’ inboxes and available online.

Headlines this issue include:

  • Je suis Palmyra …
  • European Cultural Heritage Year 2018 is ON
  • Britain’s heritage overseas
  • Update on anti-lobbying clause in Government grant agreements
  • Giving to Heritage lead highly commended by judges of the Legacy10 Award for Excellence
  • New ‘Social Investment in Heritage’ workshops available from Giving to Heritage

The next issue of Heritage Update will go live on Friday 13 May. We welcome your news; please send details to our editor: tara-jane.sutcliffe@theheritagealliance.org.uk.

Update 322

Alliance representation to DCLG on the Local Plans Expert Group Report

April 27, 2016

Alliance representation to DCLG on the Local Plans Expert Group Report

The Heritage Alliance, through our Spatial Planning Advocacy Group, has made representation to DCLG on the Local Plans Expert Group Report. The deadline for this was 27 April 2016.

The  Alliance welcomed the proactive step by DCLG to consider how Local Plan making can be made more efficient and effective. To this end we submitted evidence to the Local Plans Expert Group in October 2015. The Group presented its Report to ministers on 16 March 2016. 

The Alliance supports a Local Plan-led approach to development, which protects the natural and historic environments and involves local communities, supported by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and associated guidance. This has served to protect the historic environment while allowing appropriate development. We are disappointed that four years after NPPF was published, 17% of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) have still not published Local Plans and 34% have not yet adopted Plans. We support the Report's recommendation that plan-making should be a statutory LPA duty, with timely production of plans for sustainable development that allow local people to remain engaged in the development in their community. 

We also urge that a statutory duty be placed on Local Authorities to provide historic environment services. Professional planning advice and a well-maintained HER are critical for local economic growth and development, by allowing commercial firms to meet statutory requirements more promptly, for specialists to provide an early indication of the impact on heritage assets, and help to prevent wasted applications, unmanaged risk (and compensation), and minimise unplanned costs and delays to development. For the Local Authorities, properly managed information underpins their museum and archive services as well as their planning advice including that relating to agri-environment schemes. Now, with mass public asset transfer ahead, there is an even more urgent need to know and understand the significance of what assets they own.

The Heritage Alliance has made representation to government on several occasions in recent months on proposed changes to planning policy, responding to the CLG Select Committee inquiry into Consultation on National Planning Policy, the DCLG National Planning Policy: consultation on proposed changes, the DCLG Technical consultation on implementation of planning changes and the DCLG/Defra Rural Planning Review. We are exceedingly concerned that the cumulative effect of the proposed measures is to skew the presumption in favour of sustainable development, as enshrined in NPPF, towards a presumption in favour of meeting Objectively Assessed Need for Housing.

The Heritage Alliance believes that our heritage is one of our greatest national assets. It is a source of national pride and an engine for economic growth as widely demonstrated in the social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts. To ensure that these benefits are realised by government, businesses, communities and individuals, it is vital that changes to planning policy maintain and improve the existing level of protection.

Several Alliance members have also submitted responses to the Local Plans Expert Group’s Report, including Civic Voice and The Theatres Trust. A full round up will be supplied in a future issue of Heritage Update. 

The Heritage Alliance's representation can be read here.

The Alliance has also written to Clive Betts MP, the Chair of the CLG Select Committee, in response to publication of the committee's Report on consultation on national planning policy. Akin to the Local Plans Expert Group, the committee has also called upon government to place a statutory duty on the creation and maintenance of Local Plans.

Local Plans Expert Group report

Britain’s overseas heritage

April 25, 2016

Britain’s overseas heritage

In the Culture White Paper published in March, the Government reiterated its commitment 'to be at the forefront of cultural protection at home and abroad'.

On the back of this Philip Davies, a former director of English Heritage, has written to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, calling for modest and practical measures to support requests for assistance from heritage trusts, local and national governments, agencies and other eligible bodies for projects that relate directly to the conservation of Britain’s overseas heritage. Mr Davies has proposed that an initial £2 million be made available from 2017 for a new pilot fund.

A regeneration fund to support enabling work would generate returns not only for the host country but also recognises the UK’s pioneering role in the re-use of historic buildings. The Alliance strongly promotes the principle that heritage has social, economic, educational and environmental benefits wherever it is found – locally, nationally and globally – and that we should strive to make sure these benefits are realised by governments, communities and individuals.

Philip Davies: “Heritage-led regeneration works. It pays real economic dividends. Historic buildings and neighbourhoods are a huge economic and cultural asset”.

Our Chair, Loyd Grossman, said: “The architectural legacy of Britain's global role is increasingly endangered. Britain's heritage abroad doesn't have many local champions as it is sometimes seem as an uncomfortable legacy of Empire. But whatever our politics or ideology we neglect history at our peril”.

The story was run in The Telegraph on Sunday [24 April] and provides a number of illustrated case studies.

Loyd Grossman

Giving to Heritage lead highly commended by judges of the Legacy10 Award for Excellence

April 20, 2016

Giving to Heritage lead highly commended by judges of the Legacy10 Award for Excellence

Mark Webb of the Heritage Alliance and Project Leader for the Giving to Heritage project has been highly commended by judges of the Legacy10 Award for Excellence.

The Legacy10 Award for Excellence was set up to recognise those who have contributed to legacy giving in the UK through innovation and delivery, and was open to all legacy fundraisers working for a registered UK charity.

The judging panel comprised senior experts in the fields of philanthropy, business and the media and chaired by Legacy10 founder and Chairman Roland Rudd.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: “We have a fantastic tradition of legacy giving in the UK, which is hugely valuable to charities and the cultural sector. The government has made it simpler and more cost effective for people to leave a legacy, and I hope people are inspired by this award to do so”. The Heritage Alliance will receive £1000 as a result of Mark’s good work.

Kate Pugh, The Alliance’s Chief Executive said: “This is a terrific acknowledgement of Mark’s leadership and of what a small heritage charity can accomplish. I am so pleased that our drive to help smaller heritage organisations improve their fundraising has been recognised in this way”.

Press Release here.

Legacy10 logo

The Heritage Alliance responds to call for evidence for Rural Planning Review

April 19, 2016

The Heritage Alliance responds to call for evidence for Rural Planning Review

The Heritage Alliance takes a strong interest in rural planning policies affecting the historic environment through our Rural Heritage Advocacy Group.

On 11 February, Defra and DCLG jointly released a call for evidence for a Rural Planning Review. The consultation was addressed to a range of stakeholders, including individual users of the planning system and planning authorities. Amongst other aspects, responses were sought on:

  • Types of development which would benefit from permitted development rights
  • What planning issues need to be considered for development in rural areas
  • Whether the current thresholds and conditions allowing change of use from agricultural to residential are appropriate
  • Views on planning in rural areas in general

The Heritage Alliance welcomed this consultation as a means of bringing the knowledge and practical experience of our membership to inform this important review of rural planning.

The Alliance’s response can be viewed here.

A round-up of responses from the sector will be circulated in the next issue of Update on 29 April 2016. To be included, please supply a link to our editor: tara-jane.sutcliffe@theheritagealliance.org.uk.

Defra