Civic Update

6th October 2017

Our new address is:
Civic Voice, The Coffin Works, 13-15 Fleet Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B3 1JP.
Tel.: 0121 792 8177
Please update your records.


Photograph: Group in Wakefield

This week, members of the Civic Voice team visited Wakefield to finalise event details for the civic movement annual gathering. We want you to join us on 20/21 October.

In two week's time we will be in Wakefield saying "My Conservation Area Matters". Join us and hear from Laura Sandys and many others of the future of conservation areas. Register to attend here.

Also this week, we have been out making the case for the role of conservation officers in local government. Our Executive Director, Ian Harvey spoke at a number of events across the country highlighting how conservation cuts are impacting conservation areas. He highlighted the campaigning work of Birmingham Civic Society and other societies as he explained that new models of working will be required to help ensure that we continue to protect, preserve and enhance conservation areas. He said that communities will need to be at the heart of the discussion as we look at the future of conservation areas. If you want to know where else we are speaking about conservation areas click here.

Ian will be discussing the future of conservation areas at Wakefield. Why not share your thoughts on the future of conservation areas with him via our latest survey here. The results will be shared with Historic England and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies. Use your voice today and shape the future of conservation areas.

We visit Wakefield ahead of annual convention and we need YOU to attend to discuss the future of conservation areas

Photograph: Convention hall internal Kevin Trickett and adorer Group of four round Wakefield Civic Trust advert

Civic societies from Bristol, Chester, Deal, Hereford and Norwich are just some of the groups who are getting ready to head to Wakefield in exactly two weeks time for the Civic Voice Annual Convention.

What are they all heading to Wakefield for? They want to discuss, debate and decide how conservation areas can be managed during the next 50 years. Bristol Civic Society, Blackpool Civic Trust, The City of Winchester Trust, The Deal Society, Ilkley Civic Society, Southgate Civic Trust, Merseyside Civic Society..... just a few of the civic societies confirmed to speak at the Annual Convention and are ready to share their experiences about how they are making change happen. Register to attend here.

The weekend will bring together a range of speakers (including Laura Sandys) who represent different backgrounds and professions from national policy makers to community groups who have each helped inspire change in their local Conservation Area. The workshops, walks, talks and speakers will highlight specific lessons and consider and showcase innovative responses that are showing a common theme: local engagement; local civic action. Be part of the solution and help shape the future of conservation areas. Register (above) to attend the Civic Voice Annual Convention here as we ask what is the future of conservation areas.

The Civic Voice team this week had the opportunity to have a walk around Wakefield including Westgate Conservation Area, a relatively small conservation area (designated in 1975). Unity Works, the venue of the Civic Voice Annual Convention (day 1) is located here. Westgate Conservation area is just one of 27 conservation areas across Wakefield and visitors to the Civic Voice convention will get to see several of them during our visit to the "Merrie city of Wakefield". If you can't attend the convention, please do fill out the survey (above) and tell us your thoughts.

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Ian Harvey delivers keynote speech at London conference and says "Tell the APPG for Civic Societies how conservation cuts are impacting your area"

Ian Harvey delivering speech

Ian Harvey pictured delivering the keynote address at the annual IHBC London conference.

This week, Civic Voice Executive Director, Ian Harvey delivered two keynote talks at events in London and the South East. Ian used the events to explain to the audiences that during 2017, Civic Voice is organising the Big Conservation Conversation to make the case for the importance of conservation areas. We have a unique opportunity to celebrate how 50 years of this legislation has helped make this country a more distinctive and attractive place to live in.

Ian explained that the value of conservation areas on the impact of this country is clear. Their future is not. The number of conservation areas at risk rose to 505 in 2015 from 497 in 2014, after surveys of almost 8,300 (84 per cent) conservation areas across the country. This means that 60 per cent of England’s conservation areas are now considered to be at risk. With funding cuts and continued pressure on local authority conservation staff (33 per cent of conservation staff lost since 2007), the problem is likely to get worse.

Ian said: "We have a choice to make. We either realise that the historic environment and conservation areas add value to the character and identity of the country and resource it accordingly or future generations will ask “why did we let this happen?” as we see more examples of our historic environment disappearing in front of us. I have every confidence that the civic movement is ready to hear that call."

Please share this with your own local contacts. We will be sharing the results of this survey at a future APPG for Civic Societies meeting in Parliament.

The survey can be filled in here.

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Civic Voice Design Award study tour celebrate Bradford's regeneration success

Photograph: Commemoration tablet of opening of Sunbridge Wells Photograph: Joan Humble with Si Cunningham and Graham Hall Photograph: Delegates on tour of Sunbridge Wells with Graham Hall

Civic Voice Chair, Joan Humble with Si Cunningham (Bradford Civic Society) and Graham Hall Delegates enjoying a tour of Sunbridge Wells with Graham Hall

More than 50 people from civic societies across Yorkshire and the North West gathered in Bradford last weekend to hear about recent regeneration efforts across the city as Civic Voice and the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies held its autumn conference in Bradford.

The meeting was held at City Hall and delegates were given a presentation on the former Odeon building, which is set to be restored and reopened as a major live music venue.

As part of the day, delegates were treated to a tour of the Civic Voice Design Award winning development, Sunbridge Wells with delegates commenting that "Sunbridge Wells is truly remarkable" and praising the developer for "his tireless work to overcome seemingly insuperable obstacles to create a unique environment."

Read more about the Bradford weekend here.

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Photograph: Group of conservationists

Regional War Memorials workshops

Photograph: Group holding 'save our memorials' banner

Trustees' Roadshow

Photograph: Trustees

Big Conservation Conversation

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Civic Voice is calling for volunteers from around England to attend a meeting or workshop with us to discuss how best to find and survey every war memorial.

Workshops will be announced throughout the year in different locations, so keep a look out for a workshop in your area! You can see them here.

If you can't attend a workshop why not get involved through our War Memorials Condition Survey Toolkit. This is an easy step by step guide which trains volunteers how to carry out condition surveys on war memorials. You can see this here!

For more information or to get involved email

Does your civic society want a visit from the chair of Civic Voice or perhaps you would like another trustee or member of the Civic Voice team to come and speak to your society? We have a number of people willing to come and talk to your society about all things civic.

Many of the Civic Voice team have been travelling the country delivering the talk which is titled 'The Future of the Civic Movement.' If you would like one of our trustees or team members to come and speak to your society please email with your request.