HELM Newsletter July 2011

A row of mock Tudor houses in a conservation area Recent Developments Heritage Champions New Guidance and Information New Guidance and Information Training and Events
This west London conservation area has many flats and houses with single-glazed leaded-light windows dating from the inter-war period. Their loss would seriously damage the character of the conservation area and should therefore be exempt from Part L of Building Regulations.

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 October 2011.

Recent Developments

Draft National Planning Policy Framework

On 25 July, the Government published for consultation its Draft National Planning Policy Framework. This document is a key part in the Government's reform and simplification of the planning system. Once brought into force, which will be Christmas 2011 at the very earliest, it will replace all planning policy, including the current heritage policy Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment. An initial draft, produced by the Practitioners Advisory Group had been released in May 2011 to sound out opinions.

English Heritage's initial response, which will be refined over the summer, is that the formal consultation version represents a significant improvement on the Practitioners Advisory Group text and welcomes it as a move in the right direction. EH believes that Government has gone a long way to maintaining the level of protection for the historic environment. However we believe there remain three concerns which, if unresolved, will result in the historic environment being less well protected than it is at present:

  1. EH is concerned that the strong bias towards giving permission that permeates the document will result in decisions being made without sufficient consideration and weight being given to environmental (and social) considerations;
  2. EH is disappointed to see there is no policy to help decision-makers deal with proposals where there is less than substantial harm to the historic environment. Many decisions affecting heritage assets fall into the ‘middle ground’, being neither so small as to not affect significance, nor so major to have a very great impact on the heritage asset. LPAs face a difficult balancing act and would benefit from assistance in decision-making. PPS5 para 9.4 dealt with this, and evidence on the ground suggests that it is working relatively well.
  3. EH is concerned that non-domestic listed buildings in rural areas are likely to come under severe pressure for a change of use for residential purposes. This is as a result of para 113. EH believes this approach will usually be acceptable where listed buildings are at risk or redundant, but it should not be applied to all rural listed buildings.

The consultation period for the Framework ends on 17 October 2011.

Large Fine for Unauthorised Demolition

A fine of £80,000 plus £42,500 costs has been awarded in a recent case for the unauthorised demolition of an unlisted building in a Conservation Area. In the case of Royal Borough of Richmond upon Thames Council v John Johnson the Judge made some extremely helpful comments about the importance of retaining the original historic fabric as opposed to creating a replica, and the contribution individual buildings make to the character of a Conservation Area as a whole. This is the largest fine awarded for such an unauthorised demolition that we are aware of.

Historic Environment: Local Authority Capacity (HELAC)

As local authorities seek to improve efficiency in the face of budget cuts, the work of historic environment services will be looked at. To support councils as they seek provide quality heritage services we have developed the HELAC initiative.

HELAC is supporting five pilot areas to work in new, innovative and more efficient ways to ensure councils have access to the necessary expert advice. Those pilot areas are:

  1. Cheltenham District Council
  2. Chichester (West Sussex Councils)
  3. Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Gloucestershire and Oxford Councils)
  4. Essex County Council
  5. Northumberland County Council

The end result will be studies of how five different areas intend to ensure that their local heritage is properly protected, valued and accessible.

They will be reporting back to the HELAC partners at the end of summer with the intention of the case studies being published and available in September. More information on the HELAC initiative is available via the HELM website.

Heritage Champions

Heritage Champions

Following on from the Heritage Champions conference in November last year, work has been ongoing to develop the support provided to the network of Heritage Champions. Thanks to work undertaken by University College London student, Carla Piper, a Heritage Champions Welcome Pack is now nearing completion and English Heritage will be looking to distribute it towards the end of the year. Many thanks to those who helped Carla in drafting and collating the welcome pack.

New Guidance and Information

Recent publications include:

Moats, Ponds and Ornamental Lakes in the Historic Environment

Man-made water bodies – such as moats, ornamental lakes and ponds – are often seen as attractive subjects for restoration and nature conservation projects. The removal of vegetation and sediment to reveal open water is seen as an obvious and relatively easy way to improve their aesthetic appeal and nature conservation value.

Download Moats, Ponds and Ornamental Lakes in the Historic Environment.

Seeing the History in the View: A Method for Assessing Heritage Significance Within Views

Seeing the History in the View was published by English Heritage in PDF form on 31st May. This new guidance is designed to assess the heritage significance of views, in a systematic and consistent way however these views have come into being. The guidance sets out English Heritage's own approach to views assessment and is recommended to planning authorities and other interested parties.

Download Seeing the History in the View: A Method for Assessing Heritage Significance Within Views.

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 the energy efficiency requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations and the conservation of historic and traditionally constructed buildings. This new guidance has been produced to coincide with the revisions to Part L of the Buildings Regulations that came into effect on 1 October 2010.

Download Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Application of Part L of the Building Regulations to historic and traditionally constructed buildings.

The Canopy - London’s Urban Forest: A Guide for Designers, Planners and Developers

In the last few years a growing body of research has made it clear that trees are a cost-effective way of bringing a wide range of benefits to the environment, to individual people and to society as a whole.

Download The Canopy - London’s Urban Forest: A Guide for Designers, Planners and Developers.

Knowing Your Place - Heritage and Community-Led Planning in the Countryside

This guidance shows how local heritage can be successfully incorporated in plans being prepared by rural communities. It focuses particularly on parish plans and village design statements but is of considerable relevance with the emphasis in the Localism Bill on Neighbourhood Plans. English Heritage hopes this advice will ensure that community-led plans harness the full power of the community’s heritage. With declining public resources available for protecting and revitalising this heritage, local action is now more important than ever.

Download Knowing Your Place - Heritage and Community-Led Planning in the Countryside.

English Heritage Grant schemes

You can find Guidance Notes, Application Forms and supporting documents for our grant schemes on the English Heritage website. See

Repair Grants for Places of Worship documentation has been updated.

Our Grant Priorities have also been refreshed.

Please use the relevant contact details on our website if you wish to apply for a grant or make an enquiry.

Training and Events

HELM Training

The Historic Environment Local Management training programme continues to go from strength to strength. We are developing more partnership programmes with other organisations with the same aims and objectives, to provide opportunities for networking, disseminating guidance and best practice and for professional discussion, often between the different professions whose work impacts on the historic environment.

So far this year in a joint venture with Leeds and Kirklees Council a training day on Historic Buildings: energy efficient for a changing climate was held in Leeds. With the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers; PPS5: Archaeology and Planning was the subject of events in Exeter and Nottingham. Transfer of Heritage Assets; saw the launch of English Heritage’s new guidance with contributions from Locality and Legal Solutions for Historic Buildings at Risk in London was supported by Shoosmiths solicitors.

We will continue to work with partners through HELM to deliver timely and bespoke training programmes. Contact if you have suggestions for 2012 or want to get involved.

There are still 12 training events scheduled during the rest of 2012; including The Setting of Heritage Assets; Liverpool, Durham, Lichfield, London and York; Stopping the Rot; Hinkley, Manchester, Ely and Hastings. Both series support new or revised guidance being coming out later this year. Plus Integrating marine and Coastal Planning, East of England TBC, and Understanding the Marine Historic Environment in Plymouth.

For further details see the training page of the HELM website or to make a booking contact Sam Powell, HELM Training Coordinator on or .

Historic Environment Traineeship (HET) Scheme

The current in take of trainee Historic Environment Managers will complete the HET Scheme in September. So far, three have already found employment within the sector and will take up their new positions later in the summer. Our trainees have gained first-rate experience and skills in a range of planning and development activities and are capable of multi-disciplinary working.

Contact details

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.

What's New?