IHBC response to revised NPPF
In response, IHBC officers highlighted the chances missed, as Policy Secretary Roy Lewis said, "...from a built heritage perspective, the revised NPPF is an opportunity lost", while IHBC Communications Secretary Dave Chetwyn, noted that, "There appears still to be an assumption of high growth land and property economies, but this is not just a north-south issue – we are addressing problems in areas with serious viability challenges."
IHBC Policy Secretary, Roy Lewis said:
"The new policy statement that ‘the creation of high quality buildings is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve’ is a welcome response to the IHBC’s joint submission with Civic Voice and others on the ‘Design’ element of the Framework. However, the Institute’s comprehensive suggestions to refine the policy base for ‘Conservation of the historic environment’ has made no impact whatsoever.
"It is particularly disappointing that the government has done nothing to help resolve the interpretation problems caused by the policy distinction between ‘substantial harm’ and ‘less than substantial harm’. IHBC’s advice that that the distinction is an unnecessary complication has been ignored. As a result, debating ‘where the substantial harm/less than substantial harm join comes’ will continue to be an unnecessary complication in the process of determination of planning proposals that have a harmful impact on heritage assets, particularly in planning enquiries.
"The Institute’s call for specific policies that acknowledge the fundamental differences between listed buildings, conservation areas, scheduled monuments, parks and gardens, etc. has also fallen on deaf ears.
"Surprisingly, the reference to ‘optimum viable use’ in relation to countervailing benefits that might outweigh less than substantial harm, has been re-introduced having been omitted in the consultation draft. This maintains the inconsistency that ‘optimum viable use’ is a consideration if the proposal causes less than substantial harm whilst ‘viable use’ is the issue if substantial harm is caused. However, a conveniently inserted ‘where appropriate’ proviso gets rid of the ridiculous notion of optimum viable use of a conservation area.
"It’s not all good news in the ‘Design’ chapter either (now re-titled ‘Achieving well-designed places’), which no longer has a protective provision for designated heritage assets or their settings. And the deletion of former paragraph 60, along with its confirmation that it is proper to seek to promote or reinforce local distinctiveness, cannot be helpful.
"Unfortunately, it will be a long wait before we get another opportunity to shape planning policy for the historic environment. From a built heritage perspective, the revised NPPF is an opportunity lost."
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Organisations with conservation links have been collating resources on COVID-19 impacts, including Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS), Historic Environment Forum, The Heritage Alliance (THA), and Historic England, on cleaning surfaces.
Councils are reported to be considering taking up rarely-used executive powers to keep the planning and development system moving during the coronavirus pandemic.
Historic England's 'After a Flood' provides timely advice on how to dry walls properly and avoid further damage to the building fabric.
Context Issue 162 offers a peek into an archive of timber conservation history through the records of the practice of FWB and Mary Charles Chartered Architects.
To meet the government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050, we must recycle, reuse and responsibly adapt our existing historic buildings, according to this year’s Heritage Counts report, so Historic England and partners are calling for a reduction in VAT rates to incentivise this more sustainable option.
Donald Insall Associates, with the help of Historic England, has completed restoration work of Moseley Road Baths, being converted for use as an arts and culture venue.
Celebrate your local ‘retired members’ and ‘successful learners’ with £500 cash prizes and 2020 Brighton School places!
The Conservation Hierarchy is a new framework developed by the University of Oxford to help construction projects achieve Biodiversity Net Gain.
Jacqueline Hughes, senior risk analyst at Equib, in pbctoday discusses how project managers for town centre developments can get their risk management strategies right.
A new paper from the Adam Smith Institute argues that the problem with the High Street has been totally misunderstood, saying that we need to reform restrictive planning rules and reject a policy of managed decline to reinvigorate our town centres.
The Whole Life Cost of Energy (WLCoE) calculator – issued by government in BETA form – is intended to help building owners and operators to understand the full financial cost of the energy their buildings use, and welcomes feedback
New research published by Historic England (HE) shows the value of heritage to England’s economy as it contributes to economic prosperity and growth through jobs in the heritage and construction sectors and from tourism.