BEFS Bulletin – Cracking the Housing Nut

Get the latest historic environment events, jobs, news and publications in BEFS Bulletin.


BEFS wishes you a great start to 2017 in this our first bulletin of the year and we have some exciting dates for your diary, which are coming up soon.

The Scottish Government’s consultation paper on reform of the planning systemwas released this week. We will be working with BEFS Planning Reform Taskforce to produce a briefing paper and plan to hold a workshop on the topic in February.

BEFS is bringing Thomas Aubrey and Alastair Parvin to Edinburgh for our event ‘Cracking the Housing Nut’ on 31st January 2017. The consultation paper on the Scottish planning system provides an excellent context for an evening that looks at alternative ways to deliver more homes in Scotland. Register for free now!

Following the publication of the SHEA 2016, it is timely to look at a number of sources of historic environment data. BEFS Heritage Data Seminar in February will feature: Jonathan Schifferes, Royal Society of Arts, on the 2016 Heritage Index results; Phil Prentice, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, on the project Understanding Scottish Places, which came out of the Town Centre Review; Karen Robertson, HES, on the SHEA 2016 results. The event is free but do book a place.

BEFS Chair, Graeme Purves, reviews Lou Rosenburg’s Scotland’s Homes Fit for Heroes: Garden City Influences on the Development of Scottish Working Class Housing 1900 to 1939, in the first of our blogs this week.

Hew Edgar, Policy Manager for RICS Scotland, discusses a Tenement Health Check policy proposal published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland, in our second blog.

In tandem with this, BEFS and the Scottish Traditional Building Forum met with the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, this week. The meeting covered a number of suggestions relating to improving building maintenance from regular building surveys, to enhanced Home Reports and sinking funds for communal properties. The discussion was candid and the Scottish Government’s pilot equity scheme as part of the Home Energy Efficiency Programme is seen as one initiative to improve building condition in conjunction with projects such as Under one Roof. The time would not appear to be right for introducing stronger requirements on homeowners to invest in the regular maintenance of their properties but future climate-change targets may open the opportunity for the Government to address this.


Places, People and Planning: A consultation on the future of the Scottish Planning System (SG 10/01/17)
The consultation paper “places, people & planning” sets out twenty proposals for change which aim to strengthen the planning system and support sustainable economic growth across the country. The proposals build on the recommendations of the independent review of the planning system.
Consultation closes 4 Apr 2017.

A Consultation on Procedure of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (SG 06/01/17)
The Housing and Property Chamber aims to deliver benefits of specialism, consistency and improved access to justice for both tenants and landlords in private rented housing.
Consultation closes 31 Mar 2017.

Crown Estate: A Consultation on the Long Term Management of the Crown Estate in Scotland (SG 04/01/17)
This consultation focuses on the future purpose of the Crown Estate in Scotland and what changes are needed to the existing legislation to deliver that purpose.
Consultation closes 29 Mar 2017.

Benefits of drones to the UK economy (Department for Transport 21/12/16)
Seeks views on proposals to harness the positive benefits of drones for public and commercial services and the benefits to the UK economy.
Consultation closes on 15 March 2017.

Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement: A Consultation (SG 16/12/16)
A consultation on the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, which is a set of principles with an overarching vision that will guide the development of public policy on the nature and character of land rights and responsibilities in Scotland.
Consultation closes on 10 Mar 2017.

Local Landscape Areas (SNG & HES 12/2016)
Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland are currently consulting on revised guidance on Local Landscape Areas (LLAs)
Consultation closes on 3 March 2017.

Consultation Responses

Scottish Government Response to the UK Government Apprenticeship Levy (SG 05/01/17)
This report sets out the Scottish Government response to the UK Government Apprenticeship Levy and sets out how Scottish Government plan to develop a distinctly Scottish approach to apprenticeships and wider skills development to drive closer engagement with industry supporting Scottish Government’s efforts to enhance productivity and economic growth in 2017-18 and beyond.


A progress report on the conservation and management of properties in care of Scottish Ministers (HES 09/01/17)
The purpose of this report is to provide an update on progress one year on, in relation to the properties in care, with a particular focus on conservation.

Scotland’s Place in Europe (SG 20/12/16)
Scotland’s Place in Europe presents the Scottish Government’s proposals for mitigating the impact on Scotland of the UK’s exit from the EU. The paper sets out the importance of continued European Single Market membership for Scotland, and demonstrates that this is also the best outcome for the UK as a whole.

Historic Environment Scotland Annual Report 2015-16 (HES 9/12/16)
The first Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Annual Report and Financial Statements 2015/16 have been laid before Parliament.

Scottish Government News Releases

Forth Road Bridge closure highlights danger of ignoring weather warnings (SG 11/01/17)
Severe weather warnings remain in place for next three days. Motorists are being warned to expect further delays this evening following the closure of the Forth Road Bridge.

Transforming the planning system (SG 10/01/17)
Views sought for planning modernisation. Plans for major changes to the Scottish planning system have been published today. The Scottish Government has set out 20 proposals for revamping the system, which will support economic growth, delivery of houses and increase community involvement in planning decisions. They form a consultation which will pave the way for a planning bill to be brought forward this year.

£6.6 million for conservation of historic sites (SG 09/01/17)
Report sets out work required to restore and protect iconic buildings and monuments. Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop today confirmed a £6.6 million capital boost to support investment in conservation work, repairs and visitor facilities at several of Scotland’s iconic heritage sites and monuments. The announcement follows the publication today of the most comprehensive conservation assessment ever undertaken on the properties in care of Scottish Ministers.

Brexit threatens creative industries (SG 09/01/17)
Preserving benefits of Single Market vital. Protecting membership of the Single Market is vital to Scotland’s culture and creative industries, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop will highlight tonight.

Funding for housing projects (SG 06/01/17)
Grants of £1.65m to help homeless and vulnerable people. Organisations that work with homeless people and give housing support to vulnerable will benefit from £1.65 million of Scottish Government grant funding.

Support for cities (SG 05/01/17)
City Region Deals boosting jobs and local economies. The Scottish Government will increase support for cities in 2017, by progressing City Region Deals to boost jobs, infrastructure and the economy in Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and Stirling, Economy Secretary Keith Brown has confirmed.

Future of the Crown Estate (SG 04/01/17)
Consultation for shaping the Crown Estate in Scotland. A 12 week consultation on the long term framework for the devolved management of the Crown Estate in Scotland was announced today during a visit to Rhu Marina, Helensburgh.

Forth dimension (SG 03/01/17)
3D scans of Forth Bridges to power educational games and learning. Incredibly detailed 3D scans of the Forth Bridge will form the basis for interactive games promoting engineering skills for school children, it has been revealed.

Budget for land reform increased (SG 29/12/17)
Increased funding to shape future land reform measures and provide greater transparency. Overall funding for land reform will be increased by £3.4 million in 2017, with the existing Scottish Land Fund budget maintained at £10 million.

News Releases

Cabinet Secretary announces £7.8 million to prevent homelessness (WG 11/01/17)
The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children Carl Sargeant has announced £7.8 million for the Homelessness Prevention Programme for 2017/18.

Report on the CIfA Brexit survey (CIfA 10/01/17)
Following the result of the Referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in June, CIfA launched a survey of its members which ran through August and September and aimed to collect responses to help guide CIfA advocacy and collect the individual responses and experiences of professionals in the sector. MCIfA Kevin Wooldridge has produced a report and summary of the survey

Survey of Historic Environment Specialists: We need your help (CifA 09/01/17)
The national heritage agencies have commissioned Landward Research to undertake a new survey of historic environment specialists, building on the work that was undertaken in 2010. We aim to find out more about the distribution of specialists, their working environments, their training needs and opportunities, and their thoughts on the future.

Best Use of Timber Awards Exhibition 2016 (A&DS 09/01/17)
The Best Use of Timber Awards 2016 exhibition showcases the winner and shortlisted entries to the annual RIAS Awards scheme, which combined with Forestry Commission Scotland and Wood for Good to sponsor this award. The Award is aimed at encouraging innovative and creative use of timber in new buildings in Scotland. Also featured are the winning entries from the 2015 RIAS Chapter Awards.

New money for affordable homes released (DCLG 05/01/17)
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has today (5 January 2017) unlocked £7 billion in a dramatic expansion of the government’s affordable housing programme to meet the diverse housing needs of the country.

Door opens on 2017 at Burns Cottage (NTS 01/01/17)
Burns Cottage welcomed its first first-footers through its front door in over 100 years as 2017 arrived. The National Trust for Scotland, the charity that promotes and conserves Scotland’s heritage, has just re-opened the door as it prepares for its annual programme of events to celebrated Robert Burns’ birthday.

Parliamentary Questions

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”.

S5W-05981 Andy Wightman: To ask the Scottish Government what criteria it uses to determine whether housing can be regarded as “affordable”. (SP 10/01/17)

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-05277: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2016
To ask the Scottish Government what its assessment is of the move toward e-building standards by local authorities and how this has impacted the delivery of building standards warrants.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (13/12/2016)

Question S5W-05283: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2016
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the uptake by local authorities of e-building standards.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (13/12/2016)

Question S5W-05282: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2016
To ask the Scottish Government how much local authorities have invested in technology specifically in advance of the e-building standards portal roll out.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (13/12/2016)

Question S5W-05289: Mark Ruskell, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2016
To ask the Scottish Government how the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 supports participatory planning for coastal communities in relation to the development of fish farms, and what impact the proposals in the Islands Bill would have.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (13/12/2016)

Question S5W-05288: Mark Ruskell, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2016
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to ensure that new fish farms do not undermine the conservation objectives of the marine protected area network.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (13/12/2016)

Question S5W-05424: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 07/12/2016
To ask the Scottish Government (a) how many and (b) where vacant and derelict town centre buildings have been brought back into use as affordable housing through the Town Centre Housing Fund.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (13/12/2016)


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

The restoration of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art
When: 16 Jan 2017 at 6:00 pm.
Where: Auditorium National Museum Scotland (use Lothian Street doors), Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF.
Liz Davidson OBE, Hon FRIAS, IHBC, Senior project Manager, Mackintosh Project, Glasgow School of Art, will present a lecture entitled “Restoring the Mackintosh Building following the 2014 fire”, exploring this iconic structure, the influence of Mackintosh and the Four and its restoration.

Safeguarding Scotland’s Thatched Buildings
When: Wednesday 18 January 2017 at 7.00 for 7.15 p.m.
Where: Old Town Hall, Falkland.
This Falkland Society lecture will be given by Jessica Hunnisett-Snow, Senior Technical Officer in the Technical Research Unit of Historic Environment Scotland, and Zoe Herbert, architecture student, and former Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Scotland Officer, who was employed by the SPAB to make a complete survey of thatched buildings in Scotland. The survey was grant funded by Historic Environment Scotland. Falkland has a single thatched building, immediately opposite Falkland Palace; Auchtermuchty has a single thatched cottage; Collessie has several. Yet old photographs show that well into the 20th century thatch was a common roofing material in Fife villages and towns.

Property Repair and Maintenance Evening Event
When: Monday, 6 February 2017 from 5.30pm – 7.30pm.
Where: ESPC Showroom, 107 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3ES.
Vital information will be provided to help you: find out the condition of your property; find out the process required to repair and maintain your property; learn what funding option are available; advise on getting your neighbours together to carry out work; talk from professional who can start you on the right track.
If you would like to attend this free event please rsvp to

‘A more collaborative planning system – what can a mediation approach offer?’
When: Tue 21 February 2017 from 09:45 – 16:00.
Where: PAS, 3rd Floor, 125 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 4AD.
PAS and Scottish Mediation would like to invite you to their first joint conference. With the recent Independent Planning Review having referenced mediation in three of its recommendations, PAS and Scottish Mediation are looking to explore how this can be facilitated to improve engagement within planning. The conference will include a number of plenaries, collaborative exercises and case studies which will give participants the opportunity to consider the wider use of collaborative approaches in the planning system and to hear from professional planners and mediators.

The international conference exploring Heritage, Mental Health & Wellbeing
When: 22- 24 March 2017.
Where: Quay Place, IP4 1BZ, Ipswich, UK.
The Health and Heritage international conference will take place at Quay Place – an innovative new wellbeing centre in a church building on the historic Ipswich docklands – in March 2017.  Organised in partnership with Suffolk Mind and Future for Religious Heritage, the conference will bring together leading professionals in the mental health, heritage and museum sectors.


Would you like to be recognised for your skills in community engagement? 
SP=EED® (Successful Planning = Effective Engagement and Delivery) is PAS’s practical guide to effective engagement in planning. SP=EED Verification is a two-part programme offered by PAS which:

  • allows individuals to develop a greater understanding of SP=EED and its practical application
  • provides a greater understanding of the range of skills required for effective engagement
  • encourages the use of a range of creative and effective engagement tools
  • offers individuals the opportunity to have their engagement methods verified by independent planning and engagement professionals

Upcoming dates for training:
Fife – 2 February (time tbc)
Glasgow – 7 March (5.30-9.00 pm)
Aberdeen – 23 March (5.30-9.00pm)
Any enquires please contact David Wood on

Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage courses coming up in Spring 2017:
Make it Happen
When: Wednesday 18th January.
Where: Glasgow.

Telling it like it is: How effective copywriting can help your case for support
When: Tuesday 31st January.
Where: Edinburgh.

Planning to Progress
When: Wednesday 8th February.
Where: Glasgow.

In Focus – DTAS Event on Legacies
When: Wednesday 15th February.
Where: Nairn.

In Focus: Full Cost Recovery
When: Wednesday 22nd February *NEW COURSE*.
Where: Edinburgh.

In Focus: Introduction to Sponsorship
When: Thursday 16th March
Where: Edinburgh


Community Engagement Officer
An exciting opportunity has become available for an entry-level professional to support the implementation of Glasgow City Heritage Trust’s educational heritage grants programmes. Using social media, publicity, outreach and learning, events, seminars, conferences, print, website development, interpretation, promotional activities, exhibitions and partnerships you will be expected to promote the understanding and appreciation of Glasgow’s historic environment and the work of Glasgow City Heritage Trust. You will be reporting directly to the Heritage Outreach Officer.
Closing date Tuesday, 31 January 2017 at 12:00 noon.

Project Manager
SHBT is seeking an experienced Project Manager to take responsibility for initiating and executing high quality conservation and restoration projects on behalf of the Trust, demonstrating best practice in adaptive re-use of old buildings. This post is full-time. A Job Description is available by emailing or visiting
Closing Date 20th January 2017.

Building/Events Managers
SHBT is seeking two experienced Building/Events Manager to take on the overall management of two of its Edinburgh properties – Custom House in Leith and Riddle’s Court in the Lawnmarket. The Manager will be responsible for the day to day running of each property including management of all tenants as well as development and management of all events held within the public spaces. A proven track record of running a mixed use venue is essential. Evening and weekend working is an essential requirement of this job. A Job Description is available by emailing or visiting
Closing Date 27th January 2017.

Audience Development Officer – Patrick Geddes Centre
SHBT is undertaking a major capital project to restore Riddle’s Court and give it new life as the Patrick Geddes Centre for Learning. The construction phase is nearing completion and the Trust is seeking an experienced Audience Development Officer to develop new audiences in line with the Audience Development Plan to support the range of activities which will be delivered in the Centre when it opens in autumn 2017. This post is part-time (currently 21 hours per week) and is part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Evening and weekend working is an essential requirement of this job. A Job Description is available by emailing or visiting
Closing Date 3rd February 2017.

Director – Patrick Geddes Centre
SHBT is undertaking a major capital project to restore Riddle’s Court and give it new life as the Patrick Geddes Centre for Learning. The Trust is seeking to appoint a Centre Director who will be responsible for the strategic vision and direction of the Centre for Learning, overseeing the development and delivery of Learning Activities, delivering an interdisciplinary learning community and building an international reputation for the Patrick Geddes Centre in line with Patrick Geddes’ holistic approach to learning. High level knowledge and understanding of the work of Patrick Geddes including a proven track record in delivering a range of learning activities and community programmes direct experience of managing Advisory Groups, teams of staff and volunteers and management of an educational or multi-purpose venue. This post is full-time and is part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A Job Description is available by emailing or visiting
Closing Date 3rd February 2017.

Call for new SRCT Board Members
Last change to apply to become a Trustee at the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust. Deadline is 31st January 2017. If you would like to know more please contact the Director, Victoria Collison-Owen on or 0131 563 5135. Scottish Redundant Churches Trust, 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2LP.

Members’ News

Getting more people involved in planning: PAS supports the aims of Scottish Government consultation launched today (PAS 10/01/17)
PAS welcomes the announcement of a public consultation on the planning system, launched this morning by Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing.

Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards 2017 & Photography Competition (SCT 04/01/17)
We have been receiving nominations for the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards 2017 but there is still time for you to nominate a project or person. The deadline is 31st January and full details can be found at We are also looking for primary and secondary schools to enter our annual My Place Photography Competition. The deadline for this scheme is also 31st January so please encourage your local schools to participate. Full details can be found here.

GCHT Events Programme – Survey 2017 (GCHT 04/01/17)
We are working hard to develop our programme of events and outreach activities for the new year and we are keen to look at ways we can improve it to provide an even better experience for you, our loyal subscribers, and ensure we’re doing the best job we can be. If you have a spare 5 minutes and wouldn’t mind filling in this short survey to tell us what we’re doing right and where we could improve or change things, we would be very grateful.

Edinburgh Architectural Association Annual Awards 2017 – Calls For Entry (RIAS 12/16)
The awards showcase and celebrate the very best architecture in the Chapter area and beyond, that enhance the built environment and people’s lives, regardless of size, form or budget.
This year the format of the awards has been changed to enable all entries built within the Chapter area, small or large, to become eligible for the highest accolade of ‘Building Of The Year’.

Information in the Bulletin is extracted from a number of websites including the Scottish Government (SG); the Scottish Parliament (SP); Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS); Historic Environment Scotland (HES); Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH); Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO); English Heritage (EH); Design Council (DC); Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG); Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS); Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); National Assembly for Wales (NAW); Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS); Scottish Government Building Standards  (SGBS); Europa Nostra (EN); Historic England (HE).

If you have any questions or comments on the above, or would like to submit information to be included, please get in touch with Saskia Smellie or tel: BEFS Office on 0131 220 6241.