HELM Newsletter April 2009
Corfe Castle: an affordable housing scheme within one of Dorset’s most picturesque villages. The development is a good example of the use of vernacular materials in a sensitive historic area, a designated conservation area
Welcome to the latest edition of the HELM newsletter. We are delighted to present this quarterly newsletter for your interest.
Your next update will be July 2009.
Heritage Champions Survey
At the end of last year English Heritage carried out a survey looking, amongst other things, at how Heritage Champions and HELM are perceived by a variety of different people in local authorities. The results were, on the whole, very positive.
The number of people aware of HELM and the Heritage Champions initiative has increased since 2007 (the last time we carried out such a survey). There have also been increases in the number of people using the website, the number of people attending HELM training courses and the number of people who feel HELM publications help them in their job.
However, there is still room for improvement in the following areas:
We would therefore like to encourage those authorities with Champions, and Champions themselves, to promote the role and the value they can bring to the local historic environment. Also, we will be seeking to promote the breadth of useful material that is available on the HELM website.
Lastly, we were told that Champions felt they would benefit from more advice on getting the most from the role. In response to that, English Heritage is currently developing a welcome pack, which will be distributed to all existing Champions at first, and then all new Champions, offering support, guidance and advice, on being a Heritage Champion.
Update on the draft Bill
DCMS has put in a bid to include the Bill in the next parliamentary session and are waiting to hear the outcome of this.
Planning Policy Statement
The publication of the Policy Planning Statement on the historic environment has been delayed but every effort is being made to bring it out for wide consultation within the next few months. Once in place, the new PPS will replace the existing PPG 15 and 16 in providing a clear framework for planning decisions concerning England’s heritage, be it buildings, archaeology, landscapes, or a combination of these. As emphasised in previous editions of this newsletter, the new PPS will see no lowering of the level of protection. The purpose of the exercise is to streamline and clarify heritage protection, making the task of looking after our heritage more effective than ever.
The consultation provides a particular opportunity for local authority Heritage Champions. The PPS and its guidance are crucial to the reform of heritage protection that is still ongoing, and also forms a major underpinning to the deferred Heritage Protection Bill. It also forms a new planning tool that firmly integrates the historic environment in to the new Spatial Planning system of the 2004 Planning & Compensation Act, with a reassurance that the level of protection of all elements of the historic environment is being maintained. Champions can promote their authority’s involvement in the consultation, knowing that responses can help embed the historic environment even more firmly into the modern planning process.
Heritage Champions who would like more information on how they can support the consultation should contact Owain Lloyd-James at for general information on the PPS please contact Richard Morrice at
The Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers, the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and English Heritage are currently preparing a report on staff resources for archaeology and building conservation within local authorities and at English Heritage, particularly within the planning process. This is the first part of research which will go on to look in more detail at the duties, powers and responsibilities of local authorities in terms of the historic environment, to provide possible models for effective historic environment services in local authorities.
Historic Environment Records
A number of initiatives are underway to look at the resourcing and development of HERs under HPR. A project is in progress to gather and publish case studies of exemplar HERs. The case studies have focused on 5 main subjects: access and outreach, interoperability, partnership working, content and coverage and information management. The case study publication should be published by the end of June and will be available on HELM.
Local lists will form part of the HER and English Heritage is in the process of developing a project looking at the current standard and availability of local lists. We hope to engage with local authority colleagues to produce guidance and criteria for local lists that reflect the ethos of HPR and incorporate the whole of the historic environment. Draft guidance should be available later in 2009 for consultation.
During 2009 there will be a number of focus groups held for the sector and other interested groups to discuss priorities for the forthcoming strategic designation programme.
Future HPR training
English Heritage is working with partners across the sector to develop a range of activities, projects and guidance to support the heritage sector to meet the challenges of Heritage Protection Reform. To manage this task we are producing a Training & Capacity Building Strategy.
In 2009 – 2010 you can expect to see the publication of the HPR Training & Capacity Training Strategy and events including:
All events and opportunities will be published through the HELM website. If you have any queries comments or suggestions about HPR related training opportunities please email the HPR Training Delivery Manager, Rachel Prosser at
Marine & Coastal Access Bill.
In April 2009, the UK Government jointly published high level marine objectives for the UK marine area. The high level marine objectives take forward the UK vision for the marine environment of 'clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas' and will steer the development of policies to achieve sustainable development in the marine area. They also underpin the development of the joint Marine Policy Statement which is provided for in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill and the UK Administrations will now be working together to develop the Marine Policy Statement, which is expected to be completed in 2011.
Further information on the High level marine objectives and the document Our Seas – a shared resource: High Level Marine Objectives is available from:
For general information on Heritage Protection Reform, please contact Rachael McMillan at .
Recent publications include:
Affordable Rural Housing & the Historic Environment
This statement gives guidance on delivering successful affordable rural housing projects in historic hamlets, villages and market towns. It is aimed at those involved in enabling or providing affordable housing and at local authority planning and specialist historic environment staff.
Download Affordable Rural Housing & the Historic Environment.
Bats in Traditional Buildings
Building professionals and owners or managers of traditional buildings are very likely to encounter bats, which enjoy a high level of protection in law.
Download Bats in Traditional Buildings.
Nighthawks and Nighthawking: Damage to Archaeological Sites in the UK & Crown Dependencies caused by Illegal Searching & Removal of Antiquities
Between 2007 and 2008 Oxford Archaeology, commissioned by English Heritage, conducted a major investigation into the crime of Nighthawking, the illegal search for and removal of antiquities from the ground by criminals using metal detectors.
Download Nighthawks and Nighthawking: Damage to Archaeological Sites in the UK & Crown Dependencies caused by Illegal Searching & Removal of Antiquities.
The Nighthawking Survey involved consultation with over 400 heritage-related agencies and interested individuals throughout the UK and Northern Ireland, and the Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey.
Download Nighthawking Survey.
The European Landscape Convention -The English Heritage Action Plan for Implementation
The Council of Europe’s European Landscape Convention (the ‘Florence Convention’ – the ‘ELC’) is the first international instrument devoted exclusively to the protection, management and planning of landscape in its entirety.
Download The European Landscape Convention -The English Heritage Action Plan for Implementation.
A Charter for English Heritage Planning and Development Advisory Services
This Charter sets out the service provided by English Heritage for those involved in changing or influencing change to the historic environment.
Download A Charter for English Heritage Planning and Development Advisory Services.
Managing Heritage Assets
Government Historic Estates Unit guidance on managing heritage assets
Download Managing Heritage Assets.
HELM training 2009
This year’s HELM training programme currently includes 20 training courses covering 10 heritage themes. The calendar of events is likely to expand as the year goes on so please continue to check the training pages.
We have already successfully delivered training to over 200 colleagues this year, and foresee all future training events being at full capacity. The next 3 months sees a repeat of the highly successful Finding a future for traditional farm buildings: Policy and practice in conversion and Cemeteries: Conservation and Management. In addition a series of three Urban Characterisation workshops and two Places of Worship: Sharing Space workshops will be delivered.
These free training events are in high demand; please reserve your place by e-mailing as soon as possible.
HELM continues to collect case studies from throughout England to demonstrate the benefits of good decision-making in the historic environment. These are local stories which put theory into practice and show real results with positive benefits. Case studies can inspire innovative solutions, disseminate ideas and keep people informed of initiatives in their area.
To find out more and receive a case studies form, visit the HELM website case studies section or .
Codnor Castle and Jessop Monument
Codnor Castle, a Scheduled Monument, and the Jessop Monument, comprised of two Grade II listed buildings, all in the East Derbyshire coalfield, have been repaired and consolidated by a private coal-mining company, as a requirement of a planning permission for the extraction of coal by open-casting.
Restoration and improvement of pier head buildings associated with public realm enhancement, including additional development and the creation of a breakwater for a new water sports venue.
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