HELM Newsletter January 2011
Members of the Berwick Conservation Area Advisory Group stand at Ness Gate, an opening in the town walls made in 1816. Berwick Conservation Area Advisory Group’s decade-long involvement in managing local conservation areas provides a dedicated community forum for heritage issues affecting the town.
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 April 2011.
Since its publication before Christmas, English Heritage has been examining the Localism Bill and identifying the impacts it may have on England’s historic environment.
Through our work with communities, we know the value they can bring to their heritage and so consider the objective of the Localism Bill to empower local communities also has potential to benefit the historic environment. However, there are provisions in the Bill which have the potential to reduce the level of protection for heritage of more than local interest. This is because:
We will continue to discuss with Government ways in which the Bill can be amended to avoid any adverse affect on the historic environment.
Conservation Areas Improving Thanks to Local Action
Conservation areas all over England are benefitting from the voluntary efforts of local people, working closely with local councils and supported by English Heritage. Valuing Places: Good Practice in Conservation Areas published today by English Heritage, is a blueprint for action, describing dramatic improvements to 18 conservation areas from Berwick, Ulverston, Ripon, Bradford and Sheffield in the North to Truro, Aylesbury, Portsmouth and central London in the South.
SHINE (Selected Heritage Inventory for Natural England) is a dataset of archaeological sites eligible for management payments under the Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) agri-environment scheme administered on behalf of Defra by Natural England. The dataset is the result of partnership working between the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO), English Heritage and Natural England (for more information go to http://www.algao.org.uk/Cttees/Countryside/Agri-envEng/SHINE_Introduction.pdf ).
In August 2010 Natural England distributed £86,000 in grants to 30 local authorities to assist Historic Environment Records in enhancing their SHINE data and Natural England, English Heritage and ALGAO are currently in discussion with a view towards running a similar scheme in 2011. A further announcement will be made via ALGAO in the coming months, but all three bodies would like to continue the excellent progress already made by local authorities on the project. We'd encourage all Historic Environment Records to participate in this important initiative for the protection of our rural heritage and to look out for the forthcoming announcement.
National Heritage Protection Plan
Previous newsletters have made reference to the development of English Heritage's National Heritage Protection Plan. The Plan will help us, and the heritage sector more widely, become more effective and proactive in protecting and managing the historic environment. More information on the Plan can be found here.
To oversee and support the development of the Plan we are establishing a group of key stakeholders to advise English Heritage. Local Government has a vital role to play in the protection of England's historic environment and that is why we are seeking the input of a Heritage Champion on this group. The group will meet twice a year in London to discuss progress on the Plan and advise how it can best be focussed to deliver what is needed to ensure England's heritage is properly managed.
If you would like to nominate yourself as the Heritage Champion representative for the group please email your interest, and any questions you may have, to before February 25th.
National Heritage Champions Conference
Last November 2010, the National Heritage Champions Conference was held in the suitably historic surroundings of the Foundling Museum in central London. The conference gave Heritage Champions from around the country a chance to meet, share views and best practice and hear presentations on the latest developments in the fields of local government and heritage.
If you wish to find out more of what happened at the conference, details of the presentations given can be accessed via the programme.
Places of Worship
Nearly half of groups responsible for listed Places of Worship (POW) in England have heard of the POW at Risk programme and consider the recently published booklet, DVD and website as being very helpful. English Heritage wants to encourage more congregations caring for listed POW to use these resources and Heritage Champions could play a key role in promoting them when they are talking to community and faith groups. All the material is still available on http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/caring/heritage-at-risk/caring-for-places-of-worship/ and paper copies can be requested by contacting Customer Services or emailing . 20% of those congregations who have seen the guidance have already implemented the advice on offer about maintenance, fundraising, wider community use and security so it's clearly of benefit to both congregations and the places of worship themselves.
Reforming Designation – Important Information about Designation Applications
In early 2011 English Heritage will be launching the Heritage List for England, a fully searchable database of all nationally designated assets, from buildings to battlefields. This will be the first time that such information has been made available online and it will be accessible via the English Heritage website and Heritage Gateway.
In order to ensure that the Heritage List will be up and running in early 2011, a rigorous testing programme is underway and we are undertaking a huge project to ensure that as much legacy data from the old, separate databases (containing listing, scheduling, parks and gardens, battlefields and wrecks records) can be transferred to the new, single Heritage List.
Much of our current resources will be taken up during the changeover period and in order to manage our casework load it will not be possible to process non-urgent designation applications for a short period of time whilst the data is being transferred. Additionally from 1st January until 31st March 2011 we will only be giving priority to urgent cases, that is, those cases that are under real threat of demolition or are subject to a live planning application, or other consent application, the implementation of which may affect the national significance of the asset.
Applications that are not urgent are unlikely to be progressed until after 31st March 2011 and you may wish to defer the submission of your application form until April 2011. All applications to designate an asset should be made via the new online application form on the English Heritage website.
For further information on the changes taking place please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Recent publications include:
Conservation Areas all over England are benefitting from the voluntary efforts of local people, working closely with local councils and supported by English Heritage. Valuing Places: Good Practice in Conservation Areas published today by English Heritage, is a blueprint for action, describing dramatic improvements to 18 conservation areas from Berwick, Ulverston, Ripon, Bradford and Sheffield in the North to Truro, Aylesbury, Portsmouth and central London in the South.
Download Valuing Places.
Practical considerations for the design and implementation of refurbishment projects of historic school buildings
Almost every Local Education Authority in England will have school buildings that can be described as historic; these could be listed, situated within a conservation area or simply well regarded by their local community. When considering the options for renewal of assets, it is generally not feasible to move a school to new facilities built on an alternative site and sell off the existing building for alternative development due to the constraints of Authority land ownership.
Download Practical considerations for the design and implementation of refurbishment projects of historic school buildings.
New Uses for Former Places of Worship
Places of worship are amongst the most challenging buildings to adapt happily to new use. This guidance on the conversion of historic former places of worship is primarily aimed at new owners or potential purchasers of such buildings. It will also provide clarity for local authorities on the approach taken by English Heritage when advising on proposals for re-use. It complements the earlier document Options for the Disposal of Redundant Churches and Other Places of Worship.
Download New Uses for Former Places of Worship.
Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: application of Part L of the Building Regulations to historic and traditionally constructed buildings
This guidance provides technical advice to help prevent conflicts between energy efficiency requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations and the conservation of historic and traditionally constructed buildings. This new interim guidance has been produced to coincide with the revisions to Part L of the Buildings Regulations that came into effect on 1 October 2010. It will be published in early 2011 in a fully illustrated form. The purpose of the guidance is to help prevent conflicts between the requirements of the regulations and the conservation of historic and traditionally constructed buildings.
Download Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: application of Part L of the Building Regulations to historic and traditionally constructed buildings.
Pillars of the community: The transfer of local authority heritage assets
The Government is encouraging community-based organisations and volunteers to play an increasing role in improving their local areas, as part of their vision for the ‘Big Society’. One aspect of this is the transfer of land and buildings from local authorities to community-based organisations. Some of these transfers involve heritage assets – historic buildings, monuments, places or landscapes which are historically significant and are valued by the community.
Download Pillars of the community: The transfer of local authority heritage assets.
In November 2010 two courses on "Conservation Areas: Appraisals and Management in Practice" ran in Leicester and Morpeth in conjunction with the Conservation Studio. The Historic Characterisation and Spatial Planning training events in Bristol in October, and London in November. These were also a great success, with delegates saying it was one of the best training days they had attended with many applicable case studies. Thanks go to Bob Jones at Bristol County Council who gave us an opportunity to look at two character areas in Bristol centre. The final event of 2010 was Historic School Buildings. Despite the severe winter weather conditions, an abridged version of the day took place, which delegates took a lot away from.
The HELM training programme for 2011 is now available to view on our website. We are running many new topics this year including the Transfer and Setting of Heritage Assets, Marine Planning, and Legal Issues facing Historic Buildings. For more information and locations, or to discuss what topics you would like to see in your area HELM run in future, or book a place on a course, please contact Sam Channer on or .
If you have any queries relating to this newsletter please email or phone Timothy Brooks on . If you wish to unsubscribe, please use the unsubscribe link.