BEFS Bulletin – Community Heritage, Churches & Tenements

Get The Latest Built Environment News, Publications, Policy Developments, Vacancies And More.

St. Margaret’s ©Historic Churches Scotland


Over the last few months BEFS has been working with the Church of Scotland General Trustees, in relation to the Church’s Radical Action plan for their land and buildings. BEFS has been facilitating sessions with Church members across Scotland (as well as participating in a Webinar) to promote and discuss issues brought forth in the related online survey. This week, the final workshop event for stakeholders and the heritage sector was held in Edinburgh to get an understanding of wider views and issues related to potential changes to the Church estate. Resulting data from the online survey (which has received well over 1000 responses), opinions gathered from the facilitated sessions, and the final sector workshop summary will all form part of a (BEFS produced) publicly available report in early 2020. BEFS involvement has been designed to not only support the General Trustees with this substantial consultation exercise, but to enable the views of those supporting civic Scotland to better understand the issues and possibilities of changes to the Church estate.

The Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on Tenement Maintenance has been meeting since March 2018 with the purpose of establishing solutions to aid, assist and compel owners of tenement properties to maintain their buildings. This film was commissioned for the conference Tenements Today, Tenements Tomorrow organised by BEFS, the Scottish Civic Trust and Under One Roof.  The conference examined the Final Report of Recommendations which the working group propose will enhance the ability of tenement owners to work collectively encouraging and enabling effective maintenance and repair of their properties. This would require mandatory: owners Associations, building reserve funds, and 5 yearly building surveys. You can read the full conference report here.

The Scottish Household Survey 2018: Annual Report was published in September 2019 and Karen Robertson, Senior Research Manager, Historic Environment Scotland, has pulled together the key findings for the historic environment sector in an informative blog this week.

Community Heritage is front and centre of many new heritage strategies and visitor attractions in Scotland. Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference 2019, on 9th November in Birnam, is a one-day celebration of the best of Community Heritage across Scotland. The International Conference on Community Heritage, on 8th November in St Andrews, is the culmination of a research workshops project seeking to understand the current needs and future aspirations of the Scottish community heritage sector.


Proposed Remote Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill
Lodged 25 October 2019. Consultation closes on 31 January 2020.

Scottish Government’s Local Energy Policy Statement – Consultation
Opened 9 Oct 2019 and closes 4 Dec 2019.

Crown Estate Scotland draft 2020-23 Corporate Plan Consultation
Closes 25 Nov 2019.

Consultation on The Principles of a Local Discretionary Transient Visitor Levy or Tourist Tax
Closes 2 Dec 2019.

The role of Public Sector Bodies in tackling climate change
Closes 4 Dec 2019.

The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020: accompanying statement and proposed regulations
Closes 10 Dec 2019.

Consultation Responses

Short-term lets consultation: response analysis (SG 28/10/19)


Short-term lets – impact on communities: research (SG 28/10/19)

Regional Spatial Strategies – Summary Note (SG 28/10/19)

Revised CIfA Code of Conduct published (CIfA 23/10/19)

Local development plan: Highland (SG 23/10/19)

The route to clean growth: Using local industrial strategies to drive change (Green Alliance 23/10/19)

Environment Bill 2nd Reading in the House of Commons: Briefing on the Exclusion of the Historic Environment (THA 22/10/19)

Putting People at the Heart of the Green Transition (IPPR 22/10/19)

Community Empowerment Act Parts 3 and 5: independent evaluation – interim findings (SG 21/10/19)

Statements of Heritage Significance: Analysing Significance in Heritage Assets (HE 21/10/19)

Celebrating Archaeology in Scotland 2019 (HES 16/10/19)

Inspiring Creativity, Heritage & The Creative Industries (THA 14/10/19)

Creative industries: policy statement (SG 11/10/19)

Scottish Government News Releases

Landmark agreement to boost repopulation (SG 29/10/19)
Council leaders and key organisations across the Highlands and Islands have agreed to work with the Scottish Government to tackle population decline.

Safeguarding environmental standards (SG 29/10/19)
In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit an advisory panel will be established to ensure Scotland’s environmental standards aren’t compromised, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.

Short-term lets (SG 28/10/19)
A consultation on short-term lets found wide support for regulation, according to independent analysis published today.

Supporting communities to deliver change (SG 23/10/19)
Projects to mitigate inequality, tackle climate change and help put social enterprise products on high street shelves are to benefit from £1.8 million of funding.

Scotland’s population projections (SG 21/10/19)
Scots are expected to live longer but inward migration will be essential to ensure the country’s population continues to grow, according to national statistics published today.

Strengthening Scotland’s creative industries (SG 12/10/19)
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop today set out her vision for the creative industries while visiting cultural and creative collaborations between Japan and Scotland.

News Releases

Communities Secretary launches ‘most ambitious heritage preservation campaign for 40 years’ (MHCLG 22/10/19)
Local people will be empowered to nominate heritage buildings which are important to them and reflect their local area and identity in the most ambitious local heritage campaign for 40 years, launched by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Housing minister calls for a digital revolution in the property sector (MHCLG 21/10/19)
Local data to be released to help the property sector unlock land and unleash the potential of home builders.

Getting the measure of brochs (HES 18/10/19)
Have you ever wondered how you monitor an Iron Age monument located on a remote, deserted Shetland island? Or ever wanted to explore the famous Mousa Broch up close in 3D? Now’s your chance!

Historic Environment Scotland to review Scotland’s historic lighthouses (HES 17/10/19)
Lighthouses up and down the country will be reviewed for listing as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Urban green spaces raise nearby house prices by an average of £2,500 (ONS 14/10/19)
Urban properties close to public parks, gardens and playing fields are more expensive, analysis reveals. Explore your area to see how much green space adds to the value of your property.

Heritage & Wellbeing (THA 14/10/19)
The Heritage Alliance, in partnership with Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, is trying to understand how wellbeing is being prioritised within the heritage sector, and so we’ve created a survey about this topic.

National Planning Framework 4 – The Essentials! (SG 08/10/19)
We have started work to prepare our fourth NPF (NPF4) which will look to Scotland in 2050. It will guide spatial development, set out our national policies, designate national developments and reflect regional spatial priorities.

Brexit guidance for DCMS sectors (DCMS 02/10/19)
This collection page brings together guidance and step by step information for DCMS sectors and policy areas to help get ready for Brexit.

Opinion & Comment

When refurbishing tower blocks, listen to the experts: the residents (AJ 23/10/19)

Why planning needs better outcome measurement (RTPI 23/10/19)

Is the UK up to the task of retrofitting homes to zero-carbon standards? (RICS 23/10/19)

Recycling buildings in the circular economy (SpaceTech 16/10/19)

City Spread and New Neighbourhoods (Cliff Hague 15/10/19)

Kids Who Get Driven Everywhere Don’t Know Where They’re Going (Citylab)

Parliamentary Question

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Scottish Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an “R”.

Question S5W-25890: Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made toward completing the Land Register of Scotland by 2024, and what information it has regarding how many local authorities have not engaged in registering publicly-owned lands in their area.

Question S5W-25884: Colin Smyth, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to issue a revised climate change public engagement strategy, in line with the requirements of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Question S5W-25965: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government how many residential properties are owned by Scottish Canals, and where they are located.

Question S5W-25963: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the (a) capital and (b) revenue budget for housing maintenance and repair has been for Scottish Canals in each year since its inception.

Question S5W-25966: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether residential properties owned by Scottish Canals meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and, if not, for what reason.

Question S5W-25969: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether Scottish Canals has a risk register for residential properties in its portfolio that require substantial upgrading or repair.

Question S5W-25964: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government how many residential properties were owned by British Waterways in Scotland in each of the last five years of its operation, and where they were located.

Question S5W-25961: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the (a) capital and (b) revenue budget was for housing maintenance and repair for British Waterways in Scotland in each of the last five years of its operation.

Parliamentary Questions & Answers

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.

Question S5W-24858: Finlay Carson, Galloway and West Dumfries, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government how much it has spent since September 2016 to make public sector buildings more energy efficient.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (21/10/2019)

Question S5W-25588: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether the level at which a tourism levy is set will be a decision for individual local authorities.
Answered by Kate Forbes (10/10/2019)

Question S5W-25587: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether the use of the resources raised by a tourism levy will be a decision for individual local authorities.
Answered by Kate Forbes (10/10/2019)

Question S5W-25586: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether the decision on introducing a tourism levy will be made by individual local authorities.
Answered by Kate Forbes (10/10/2019)

Question S5W-25585: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether a tourism levy will be in place by the end of the parliamentary session.
Answered by Kate Forbes (10/10/2019)

Other Parliamentary Activity

PE01749: Financial viability of listed buildings
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to ensure that
•    financial viability studies are conducted on listed buildings requiring restoration and/or maintenance,
•    responsibility of ownership is established for this work and;
•    financial assistance is provided where listed buildings are at risk of falling into disrepair.

PE01748: Provide protection for small communities in Scottish planning policy
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to provide specific provision within the National Planning Framework 3 (NPF 3) and the Scottish Planning Policy for small communities which:
•    Provides for a pre-development community asset and infrastructure audit when an area is identified as being able to accommodate large-scale, urban growth and;
•    Protects areas considered by its community to be high value scenic assets and at risk of the coalescence of communities.


For the latest information about BEFS Members’ events see our events calendar.

The History and Archaeology of Clocks Lectures
Dates: Monday 4th November and Tuesday 5th November 2019
Venue: Eric Liddell Centre, Edinburgh.
We are delighted that as part of our 5th Anniversary Celebrations Xu Kun (James Xu), the Director of an Antique Clock and Watch business and Vice Director of the Chinese Horology Association, Clock Research Department will be giving two lectures at the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh. Antique clocks have always played an important role in the international decorative art market. Historically, the Chinese Imperial Palace always had close ties with imported antique clocks. The stories behind these mysterious instruments are enchanting and fascinating. These lectures are a great opportunity to learn about antique clocks, the technology involved in their creation and their history.

Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference 2019
Date & time: Sat, 9 November 2019; 09:00 – 16:00.
Venue: Birnam Arts & Conference Centre, Station Road, Birnam PH8 0DS.
A one day celebration of the best of Community Heritage across Scotland. Now in its 9th year, the conference offers an opportunity for community heritage groups to gather, share experiences, celebrate their achievements, learn from each other and discuss, debate, and plan for the future. We will again be hosting breakout training workshops aimed at helping you develop and deliver your heritage project, and the very popular one-minute mayhem will return! Please join us for a packed day of talks, workshops and displays. Hot rolls will be available from 8.30am.

Viking Scotland: Results, Opportunities and Ways Forward
Date & time: November 11 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
Venue: National Museum Scotland.
Lecture by Dr Colleen Batey FSA Scot (Centre for Northern Studies, University of Highlands and Islands). It is 20 years since the seminal volume Vikings in Scotland: an archaeological survey was published by Edinburgh University Press (EUP) under the authorship of James Graham-Campbell and Colleen Batey. This period has brought many changes to our understanding of the Scandinavian presence in Scotland, some through the results of targeted research agendas, others through chance finds during field survey and metal detecting. The published integration of all aspect of archaeological endeavour – both on and off-site, has provided a unique opportunity to re-assess the impact of this period which spanned essentially 600 years.

Communities for a Changing Population 2019
Date: November 12th 2019.
Venue: Saracen House, Glasgow.
This conference will explore how a greater focus on innovative, sustainable and community-led planning can support both the development and future-proofing of communities, as well as seeking to influence changes in public policy, by an evolutionary approach to placemaking and the future of Scottish society. The conference also represents a unique forum for knowledge exchange, open discussion and cross-sector engagement while presenting an opportunity for delegates to engage with buyers and suppliers.

Glasgow Pub Social 
Date & time: 13 November 2019 5:30pm
Venue: Old Toll Bar Glasgow
The 4th of SPAB Scotland’s pub socials will be held on Wednesday, 13th November at the Old Toll Bar in Glasgow. Join us starting at 5:30pm for an informal get-together, drinks, and socialising in one Glasgow’s best surviving Victorian pub interiors! Get over that mid-week slump with one of the pub’s offerings from its exquisite cocktail menu! All Built Heritage enthusiasts, builders, craftspeople, professionals and scholars cordially invited. Don’t know anyone? Look for the SPAB Magazine on the table. SPAB Scotland committee members Jamie McNamara, Tom Hay and Stephanie Weinraub will be happy to welcome all new faces!

Scottish Building Contract Committee: Annual Conference 2019
Date & time: Thursday 14 November 2019; 09.30 – 16.30.
Venue: Surgeon’s Quarter, Nicholson Street, Edinburgh.
Cost: Early bird: £135 (until 31 October). Full delegate: £180. Student / Retired: £48.
SBCC’s 2019 Annual Conference will provide a definitive guide to the latest developments in building contracts and construction law in Scotland. This year will focus on some of the challenging financial and economic issues affecting the industry and initiatives to help address them and protect cash flow.

Lecture: Ernest Gimpson and the SPAB – Annette Carruthers
Date & time: 14 November 2019; 18:00 – 20:00
Venue: The Engine Shed, Forthside Way, Stirling FK8 1QZ
On the centenary of the death of Ernest Gimson, who was a central figure in the British Arts & Crafts Movement. Following the anticipated publication of a new book covering his life, Annette Carruthers will present a lecture delving into this legacy, career, and involvement with SPAB spanning more than thirty years, with particular focus on his role as a conservationist and collaborations with several Scottish Arts & Crafts architects, including Robert Weir Schultz, Francis Troup and William Weir. A drinks reception will follow the lecture. All drinks included in the ticket price. Tickets required and available via the link.

Glasgow’s Great Industrial Buildings
Date & Time: 21 November 2019; Coffee / tea at 7pm; Lectures start at 7:30pm.
Venue: The Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow.
John Hume, historian of industrial archaeology and architecture examines some of the extraordinary, magnificent and, indeed, noble buildings put up by Glasgow’s industrialists in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Disused and Derelict Land Use and Assets 2019
Date: November 26th 2019.
Venue: The Studios, Glasgow.
Vacant and derelict land affects our communities and their potential. These sites can have a negative impact on an area, causing social, economic and environmental harm. However, these sites also present opportunities for long term regeneration, renewal, growth, revived communities and reduced inequalities. It is key to Scotland’s future that this land is brought into use, which is why agencies such as The Scottish Land Commission and SEPA have set up a Task Force to take strategic responsibility for vacant and derelict land. This will act as a catalyst for addressing long-term land vacancy and dereliction across Scotland.

RSA Angus Millar Lecture Climate Change: Treading on Thin Ice
Date & time: Tue, 26 November 2019, 18:00 – 20:00.
Venue: Dovecot Studios Ltd, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LT.
We are in the midst of a Planetary Emergency. Climate breakdown and mass extinction of species are converging with widespread socio-economic inequality and political radicalisation. The global system is now in dire need of systemic and transformational change. And yet, we have an unprecedented opportunity to emerge from emergency to a world of human and planetary well-being. In this lecture, Sandrine Dixson-Decleve will explain The Club of Rome’s Climate and Planetary Emergency Plans response to this urgent call and how they will provide the key levers of change to secure the future of people and planet.

Plenderleith lecture: After the dust has settled – rediscovering the spirit of the Mackintosh
Date: November 28th 2019 from 6 – 7.30pm.
Venue: The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU.
So much of the fabric of the iconic Glasgow School of Art building was destroyed in the devastating fire of June 2018 – the building currently exists largely in the virtual world of recordings, drawings, scholarly essays and memories. Over a year later, the Mackintosh Building is slowly beginning to piece together its future again, a journey of making the intangible tangible.Icon Scotland Group is delighted to welcome Project Manager Liz Davidson who will explore the task of the reconstruction project for this year’s Harold Plenderleith Memorial Lecture. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception and is preceded by Icon Scotland Group’s AGM from 5.15 -5.45pm to which all Group members are invited.

James Miller (1860-1947) 
Date & time: 23 January 2020; Coffee / tea at 7pm; Lectures start at 7:30pm.
Venue: The Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow.
Fergus Sutherland of Icosse Heritage and Media talks about the career of one of Glasgow’s most successful (and least discussed) architects, the wonderfully eclectic James Miller.

Edwin Smith, a genius at photography
Date & time: 3rd February 2020; 6.30pm.
Venue: St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, 13 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PA
Cost: £5 (Students free). Non-members welcome. Members may attend 6 lectures for £25.
When, in 1966, Edinburgh University Press published “The Making of Classical Edinburgh” by Professor A J Youngson with specially commissioned photographs by Edwin Smith, few could have foreseen the impact the book would have on moves to save Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town. John Summerson described Edwin Smith as “A genius at photography” and his work was widely published. The collection of Smith’s images was donated by his widow, Olive Cook, to the RIBA, and we are fortunate to have as a speaker Valeria Carullo, Curator of the Robert Elwall Photographs Collection at the RIBA British Architecture Library. This is a joint lecture with The Aperture Trust.

Building of the University of Glasgow, 1451-2020
Date & time: 20 February 2020; Coffee / tea at 7pm; Lectures start at 7:30pm.
Venue: The Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow.
Nick Haynes, historic environment consultant traces the architectural history of the University from its origins in the High Street to the most recent developments at Gilmorehill.


Internal & External Lime Finishes – A place for all mortars Masterclass
Date & time: 22 November 2019; 09.30 – 16.30.
Venue: Charlestown Workshops, Fife.
Cost: Special discounted rate – £140 + vat.
In our ever changing climate (weather and economy) as specifiers and users, we have the responsibility to safeguard our built heritage. This latest masterclass in the ‘A place for all mortars’ series aims to give context in harling practice, show case studies of worked examples of both external finishes and plastering, and give some steer as to how we cope going forward with harsher weather patterns. As with all the masterclasses in the ‘A place for all mortars’ series, it will address all mortars and the advantages and disadvantages of various applications when modern pressures force us to look at mortars more practically.

NEW! Repairing Traditional Masonry Structures
Date & times: 17 January 2020; 09.30 – 16.30.
Venue: Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
Cost: £190 + VAT
This one-day workshop covers the construction and appropriate repair of traditional masonry structures such as culverts, tunnels, light houses, viaducts, canals, harbours, retaining walls, piers and masonry arch bridges using natural stone and the range of lime and early patented cements that have been used in the past as bedding and pointing mortars. These structures contribute so much to the richness of our built heritage. But in many cases, we are asking these structures to outperform any of the expectations that their original designers intended There are now a wide range of lime and natural cement binders along with additives that can be used to emulate both the technical and aesthetic performance of original mortars in repair schemes. This workshop is taught by a blend of theory and practical ‘hands-on’ sessions.


Membership and Fundraising Officer
Edinburgh World Heritage is looking to appoint a highly motivated, professional and well-organised membership and fundraising professional to this important role within our team.

Project Officer
Stirling City Heritage Trust is seeking an enthusiastic conservation or building professional to work as Projects Officer supporting both the Trust Manager and SCHT team.  The Projects Officer has a key role in delivery of the Trust’s traditional building repair grants and outreach projects including traditional skills training and heritage education.

Intern Project Officer
RTPI Scotland looking for a motivated person who can use collaborative and analytical skills to support the engagement of our Scottish membership with the development of NPF4.