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Civic Update

7 April 2017


As we look forward to Civic Voice's seventh anniversary, now is the ideal time to become a member of Civic Voice and say "I care about where I live".

2017 is focused on the Big Conservation Conversation as the civic movement celebrates 50 years of conservation areas with a specific focus on Civic Day 2017. We will be using the year to highlight the lack of conservation officers in local government and showcasing high quality development in a conservation area through the Civic Voice Design Awards. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies will continue to give you a voice on a national level and the Civic Voice trustees will continue to support your civic society in any way we can. We will also continue to focus on conserving the nation's war memorials as we work with partners to reduce the number of war memorials on the "at risk" register.

It doesn't matter if you are a civic society, individual, corporate organisation or charity, if you love where you live and want to get to involved in making it a better place, we want to hear from you. We have membership packages for everyone. If you would like to learn more about what Civic Voice can do for you click here.

Contents:


Laura Sandys addresses conservation experts as part of the Big Conservation Conversation

Photograph: Laura Sandys speaking Photograph: discussion panel

Laura speaking on the discussion panel with Sir Donald Insall to her left, and Duncan McCallum of Historic England and Colin Davis to her right.

In 2017 and with the support of Civic Voice Vice President, Laura Sandys, the civic movement will be raising awareness of the 50th anniversary of Conservation Areas. This week, Laura attended the annual meeting for the Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings.

Laura said: "When conservation area legislation was introduced there was widespread public concern over the pace of redevelopment in our historic towns and cities. Today there are over 10,000 conservation areas in the UK (approximately 9,300 in England, 500 in Wales, 650 in Scotland and 60 in Northern Ireland) reflecting the popularity of this legislative tool in identifying and protecting our most valued historic places."

Laura added: "In the eyes of Civic Voice, designating a conservation area should not be seen as an end in itself: we live in a changing world and for the historic environment to survive and continue to be cherished it needs to be positively managed. With the loss of a third of all Conservation Officers in local Councils over the last 10 years, it is vital that civic societies now take a more active role in promoting heritage planning. We want communities across the country to come together and say "My Conservation Area Matters."

Sign up today to join our newsletter which will keep people updated on our activities here

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Ian Harvey facilitates "Big Conservation Conversation" workshop

Photograph: Ian Harvey the three speakers

Left to Right: Ian Harvey (Civic Voice), Deborah Wall (Historic England), Kate Newall, (Leeds City Council)

‘Planning authorities are working under very difficult conditions at the moment with recent legislation increasing workload, shortage of space and staff, and not being helped by the general effects of cutbacks in spending.’

This is how Ian Harvey started a talk in Leeds last Saturday to 25 community groups across Leeds. He said: "I don’t think anybody would disagree with this as a description of the climate planning authorities are operating in today but you might be surprised to hear that this was a statement from a 1969 publication setting out the context in which the first 200 conservation areas were designated across England."

Notes from the Big Conservation Conversation workshop are available here.

Would you like a workshop on 50 years of Conservation Areas in your area and how you can play a part in saying, "My Conservation Area Matters" get in touch here.

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‘If your "heritage" is not on the list...’ a tool to defend your heritage....

Did you know that a "Local Heritage List" or "Local Heritage Assets" or 'Local List' of buildings of special architectural interest is a tool communities can use to help recognise what local heritage assets they value.

This is not the equivalent of the "listing" process, which is a national scheme to recognise buildings of outstanding quality, but rather a project led by local authorities that highlights local buildings worthy of recognition and protection.

Many civic societies have helped compile a Local Heritage List and are using it to ensure they have an extra "tool" to champion the local historic environment.

Historic England will be holding training via the HELM programme to help communities understand the Local Heritage List process. Why not go along? Learn more and put your "local" heritage on the list!

Most Historic England historic environment courses are aimed at local authority staff, but two future events are specifically on the subject of local heritage listing and Historic England are extending invitations to Civic Voice members. The two courses are:

•Stafford: Local Heritage Listing, April 26th in Stafford, see here

•South West (location tbc): on June 27th. Booking for that event is available here

More information about Local Heritage Lists click here.

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Feed into Civic Voice's response to the Housing White Paper

Photograph: Max Farrell

Max Farrell, Civic Voice Design Awards chair judge and Partner at Farrells addresses delegates at recent APPG for Civic Societies debating the planning system

In February, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Civic Societies debated proposals made within the Housing White Paper with a number of civic societies and MPs attending to share their thoughts. You can see a report from the event here.

View the Housing White Paper here.

We want even more of the civic movement to feed into our response on proposals put forward in the Housing White Paper. We have developed a survey which will allow you to have your say. You can take the survey here. Please read through the word document version of the survey first so you have an idea of what kind of questions you will be asked. You can read that here.

Civic Voice, as the authoritative voice for the civic movement, is holding this consultation on selected elements of the Housing White paper to inform a national civic movement response.

We will be continuing to debate the Housing White Paper in Parliament, through our APPG for Civic Societies. We want you to decide which topic in the Housing White Paper you would like us to discuss. Vote on what you want us to debate next here.

We are also asking you to invite your MP to become a member of the APPG for Civic Societies. We have created a template letter for you to use to ask your MP to join. See the invite here.

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Be inspired by Pontefract and improve your civic society with Civic Voice's self assessment tool

Photograph: Pontefract meeting Photograph: Two Pontefract Civic Society officials

Over recent months, Pontefract Civic Society has formed an internal Futures Group, which comprises the Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary, their role being to develop the society’s strategic direction. After the recent AGM, it was clear that an Executive Away Day would achieve clear benefits for the society and the town, and Richard Metcalfe at Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel was keen to support this venture, which took place at the hotel last week. 17 society members drawn from trustees, a few other committee members and brand new people to the civic society went through a challenging series of sessions.

Are you looking to improve your civic society/community group but need some help and advice? As part of the away day, the Society utilised the feedback from the Civic Voice Civic Society Assessment Tool. With the assessment tool they have highlighted what factors they think societies should be concentrating on in order to thrive and be a really successful society.

You can find the self assessment tool here. We are encouraging groups to use this form and send results to us so we can tailor our support and guidance to groups more effectively. You can read what else Pontefract got up to on their away day by reading click here.

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Renew your Civic Voice membership now

Photograph: Margate Civic Society receiving Civic Voice Design Awards winning plaque for Public Realm category in 2015

Margate Civic Society receiving Civic Voice Design Awards winning plaque for Public Realm category in 2015

Have you renewed yet?

We have been busy sending out reminders to all of our members about renewing their membership of Civic Voice. We have now sent renewal forms and contact forms to all of our groups and we want you to get them back to us as soon as possible. This week, Bewdley Civic Society, Blackpool Civic Trust, Desborough Civic Society, the Greenwich Society, Margate Civic Society, Matlock Civic Association and the Wandsworth Society all renewed their membership. 79 of our members have already sent back their renewals so what are you waiting for? Get your renewals in now.

Our hunt for new members

We are also on the hunt for new members. Now is the time to become a member of Civic Voice.

2017 is set to be one of the biggest years for the civic movement with the Big Conservation Conversation celebrating 50 years of conservation areas, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies continuing to give you a voice on a national level and the Civic Voice team continuing to support your civic society in any way we can.

Civic Voice members also receive a number of free gifts. Current offers include a National Trust pass, IHBC magazine on conservation areas (£5 to non members) and the 'History of the Civic Movement' book (£5 to non members).

It doesn't matter if you are a civic society, individual, corporate organisation or charity if you love where you live and want to make a change, we want to hear from you. We have membership packages for everyone. If you would like to learn more about what Civic Voice can do for you click here.

Make sure you renew and don't miss out on what is set to be one of the biggest years yet for the civic movement.

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Membership News


This section of civic update aims to give you a snap shot of what our members are doing locally to promote civic pride in their area. If you are a member of Civic Voice and are proud of what you have done this week, email your story to ben.murray@civicvoice.org.uk.

Join the movement!

 


Ilkley Civic Society fundraise for the Big Conservation Conversation

Picture: Ilkley Society logo

The Ilkey Civic Society to celebrate 50 years of the Civic Amenities Act

ILKLEY Civic Society is planning a summer of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Conservation Areas and to participate in national Civic Day.

This year sees the 50th Anniversary of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 which introduced listed buildings and conservation areas into the world of planning. Civic Voice has launched The Big Conservation Conversation to celebrate and promote discussion about conservation areas and listed buildings and their future, 50 years on.

There are three conservation areas in Ilkley, Middleton and Ben Rhydding, numerous listed buildings and many scheduled ancient monuments. The town's civic society is planning a number of events during the summer which will focus on conservation.

On June 16 and 17 an exhibition will be held at Christchurch to demonstrate how the conservation areas and listed buildings contribute towards Ilkley’s distinctiveness. In the days running up to the exhibition an information leaflet about the conservation areas will be delivered to homes and business in the conservation area.

Throughout the summer, there will be a series of heritage walks as part of the Summer Festival, as well as a smaller exhibition at the library. The Civic Society is also planning continued conservation work in Ilkley Cemetery, as well as another blue plaque. The society will also propose the war memorial as a listed building.

Inspired by Ilkley and want to hear about other groups' plans to celebrate Conservation Areas this year?

Sign up for the Big Conservation Conversation here.

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Colchester Civic Society's Pioneering Public Art project receives £52,000

Photograph: Jo Edwards - Chair Colchester Civic Society, Pam Schomberg - Chair Colchester in Bloom
 Kath Wood - Volunteer Project Manager

Right to left: Jo Edwards - Chair Colchester Civic Society, Pam Schomberg - Chair Colchester in Bloom Kath Wood - Volunteer Project Manager

Colchester Civic Society has been successful in its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for funding to support the restoration and interpretation of a series of murals by artists Henry Collins and Joyce Pallot in Colchester’s Southway Subways. The project is a collaboration with Colchester in Bloom and the organisations will work together to realise both the murals’ renovation and community engagement programme.

Read more here.

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YHACS Futures Workshop – Friday, 23rd June, Wakefield

Photograph: Joan Humble, Chair of Civic Voice speaking at an event with YHACS earlier this year

Joan Humble, Chair of Civic Voice speaking at an event with YHACS earlier this year

Civic societies face two types of existential challenge: keeping going and dealing with the external pressures presented by the change that is happening all around us. These challenges are, of course, interlinked. How do you recruit members, secure the services of volunteers and raise funds against a backdrop of social and technological change when people are leading busier and busier lifestyles with more demands on their time than ever? How do you make sure that your civic society maintains its relevance and appeal to current and prospective members? How do you find people willing to run your society, willing to take on responsibility for doing the work and willing to assume leadership roles?

Meanwhile, how do you keep abreast of changes in society more generally, be they demographic trends, technological advancements or political uncertainties?

Well these are just some questions being asked by YHACS as they organise a workshop to consider the future of civic societies. More information here.

If you are interested in discussing these issues in your own civic society, do let us know (here) and Civic Voice would be happy to arrange something similar.

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Get Involved!

Sign up for Civic Voice's range of newlsetters

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 Day

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Civic Voice Design Awards News

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War Memorials News

Sign up here to receive bi-weekly news on what communities are doing to commemorate the fallen during the centenary years

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 info@civicvoice.org.uk.

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 info@civicvoice.org.uk with your request.

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