BEFS Bulletin – Planning Review Update

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


The Scottish Government are now looking to pilot 3-4 Simplified Planning Zones (SPZ) for housing in response to the Planning Review and the prospectus is now available. SPZs offer a streamlined and simplified planning process but cannot include development, which would require an Environmental Assessment, be within conservation areas, National Scenic Areas, SSSIs or approved green belts.

A report summarising the discussions held by the six planning review working groups on 12 and 13 September 2016, has now been published.

The second annual Scottish Heritage Angel Awards last night saw a project to collect and record bricks, the restoration of a WWI memorial in Orkney, and a television channel run by young people to highlight an archaeological dig, amongst the winners. You can read more about who scooped the prizes here.

Dig It! 2017 is looking for events across Scotland for their printed programme (running from January to December 2017), with the deadline set as Friday 4 November 2016. They have a very broad definition of ‘archaeology’, and events can include anything from cookery courses to theatre performances. If anyone would like more information, they should contact

Dr Loyd Grossman CBE, NADFAS President and Heritage Alliance Chairman, is giving a lecture on culture and heritage in November at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Tickets are still available.

Chelsea Charles, Communications Manager Scotland’s Themed Years, VisitScotland Events Directorate, shares some top tips on how to get involved in Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in BEFS latest blog.


Consultation on Transposition of Environmental Impact Assessment Directive EU2014/52
Closes on 31 October 2016.

Consultation on the Relaxation of Planning Controls for Digital Communications Infrastructure
Closes on 4 November 2016.


Planning Review Working Groups Workshop
Report arising from the Planning Review Working Groups workshop in September 2016.


Scottish Land Commission (SG 14/10/16)
Key land reform body to bring around 20 new jobs to Inverness. The Scottish Land Commission, including five Land Commissioners, the Tenant Farming Commissioner and support staff, will be based in Inverness, Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham will announce. Hilary Pearce has also been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer and will take up her position shortly. She will work to establish and support the work of the Commission until summer 2017.

Funding for housing in Govanhill (SG 12/10/16)
More homes in Govanhill will be improved after a further £2.5m in funding was granted to continue a successful pilot project. Within its first year the South-West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme has already exceeded its two year target of bringing 80 houses into the social rented sector – they have recently purchased their 100th house.This enables Govanhill Housing Association (GHHA) to take more control of the houses and make necessary improvements.

World class bridge breaks world record (SG 11/10/16)
The Queensferry Crossing’s centre tower deck has been recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest freestanding balanced cantilever in the world. The bridge’s central deck is now complete but still free standing and this 644 metre cantilever itself won’t last long. Soon, it will be connected to the flanking towers and viaducts to form the final superstructure.


Battle for Britain’s best high street (DCLG 18/10/16)
The Great British High Street competition has today (18 October 2016) revealed the nation’s best high streets. Twenty-seven finalists now have the chance to impress an expert judging panel and battle it out in a public vote to be crowned Britain’s best.

Call for papers: 4th Heritage Forum of Central Europe (ICON 18/10/16)
The Heritage Forum of Central Europe is a biennial event organised by the International Cultural Centre in Kraków. The fourth edition of the Heritage Forum will be held on 1st-3rd June 2017 and will analyse the relationship between heritage and society. What is society’s attitude to heritage and its meaningful but often difficult past? How does heritage shape communities? Who owns heritage and why? What are the social functions of heritage? What do we want to remember and what do we often forget? These are just some of the questions that the Forum wishes to address.

5 new Case Studies focusing on materials (A&DS 17/10/16)
Material Considerations: A Library of Sustainable Building Materials presents 5 new case studies which showcase a variety of sustainable materials.

Help Protect England’s Heritage (English Heritage 17/10/16)
At English Heritage conserving our sites for the future is one of our biggest responsibilities. Since we became a charity in 2015 we’ve been working hard to look after the 400 historic places and 500,000 objects in our care – but we need your help. We’ve therefore launched our Conservation Appeal to help support this vital work and safeguard our historic places for future generations.

Have Your Say: A&DS Corporate Strategy 2017-2020 – Consultation (A&DS 16/10/16)
Well-designed buildings and places add to people’s wellbeing and support a sustainable future for our country. They make best use of our finite resources, offer choice and opportunity and provide a sense of identity to our communities. As Scotland’s design champion, our purpose is to promote the value of good architecture and sustainable places. We are inviting comments from individuals, groups and organisations. Please look through the A&DS Corporate Strategy Consultation Document  – throughout the document there are sections highlighted, reflecting the questions asked in the online consultation. We would like to receive your submissions by 31st October 2016.

A Place to Explore your Built Heritage – New Website from the Engine Shed (Engine Shed 10/16)
Our built heritage tells countless stories: of the people who built them, lived in them and used them. We passionately believe our built heritage should be explored, understood and looked after to ensure they last for future generations. On our website you will find everything from advice on how to look after traditional buildings to details of upcoming events being planned by the Engine Shed team.

Do you have an idea for improving an aspect of your town? (STP 14/10/16)
Enter your idea into the Future Town Design Competition by 22nd October, and your entry will get featured by the Scotsman online and listed on the Scotland’s Towns Partnership website, where the public can vote for the winning entry. Shortlisted entries will also be displayed at Scotland’s Towns Conference, where 200 key town practitioners can view the idea for your town. The winning idea, decided by a public online vote, will be featured in the Scotsman newspaper, across the National Towns Portal throughout the year and at the Cross Party Group for Towns and Town Centres where you’ll have the opportunity to present your design to the group.

Communities and Children Secretary welcomes figures that show how homes are improving lives (WG 13/10/16)
Communities and Children Secretary Carl Sargeant today welcomed figures that show that 79% of all social housing dwellings met the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) at March 31st 2016, which is a rise of 8 percentage points on the previous year.

Twin Towns UK – Call for Applications (Carnegie Trust 10/10/16)
Towns are critical to the future economic prospects of the UK. Twin Towns UK takes a fresh approach to the well-established ‘twinning’ concept, by pairing towns across the UK with similar characteristics or socio-economic challenges, to consider how to make positive change happen in their communities. Twin Towns UK will support up to 10 towns to trial bilateral ‘twinning’ arrangements over an 18-month period.  Applications are invited until 25 November 2016 from interested organisations that represent their town in some capacity.

Search to find the most inspiring built schemes begins (RICS 10/16)
A four-month search to find each region’s most inspirational built projects in the land, property and construction sectors is now on, following the opening of entries for the 2017 RICS Awards. Our popular annual awards celebrate each region’s top built initiatives and developments that provide significant value to the communities they serve. Every year, each regional RICS Awards ceremony attracts hundreds of entries, from small scale pioneering schemes to large multi-million pound developments. The deadline for entries is 16 January.


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

Question S5W-01924: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 12/08/2016
To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to introduce legislation that would allow builders who carry out substandard work and cause properties to become dangerous to be charged with a criminal offence.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (21/09/2016)

Question S5W-01923: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 12/08/2016
To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to introduce regulations to introduce licensing for companies carrying out building works.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (21/09/2016)

Question S5W-01922: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 12/08/2016
To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to introduce greater regulation in the building trade.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (21/09/2016)

Question S5W-02268: Pauline McNeill, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/09/2016
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the suggestion in the Scottish Housing Condition Survey 2014 that the main cause of failing to meet the standard in all tenures relates to poor energy efficiency, what measures it plans or has introduced to improve energy efficiency in (a) social housing and (b) the private sector.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (29/09/2016)

Question S5W-03171: Mark Ruskell, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 26/09/2016
To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to overcome barriers in (a) getting agreement and (b) securing finances for communal work on multi-tenanted properties.
Answered by Annabelle Ewing (05/10/2016)


*S5M-01869 Fiona Hyslop: Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill – UK Legislation—That the Parliament agrees that the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill, introduced to the House of Lords on 19 May 2016, which provides for the introduction of measures to enable the ratification by the United Kingdom of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954 and the Protocols to that Convention of 1954 and 1999 and which, so far as applying to Scotland, is within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

Supported by: Alasdair Allan (SP 07/10/16)


The Parliament has agreed the following parliamentary recess dates in 2016:

  • 8 to 23 October 2016 (inclusive)
  • 24 December 2016 to 8 January 2017 (inclusive)


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

Bringing Back the MACK
When: 20th October 2016 at 18:00pm.
Where: GCHT Office, 54 Bell Street, Glasgow.
Devastated by fire in May 2014, the Glasgow School of Art is now being painstakingly restored by a team of experts. Rachael Purse, the former Glasgow City Heritage Trust Monuments Officer, was awarded the ‘Bringing Back the Mack’ PhD Scholarship to record this effort. Over the next three years, Rachael will be providing a critical reflection on the project, as well as investigating spatial changes and creating case studies on the material conservation and reconstruction. Rachael will be giving us an early look into her work, talking about the research she has done so far, providing insights into what it’s like to be a part of this huge conservation project, and highlighting new discoveries.

The Best Ways to Enhance Edinburgh as a Place
When: 27 Oct 2016 from 6.00 – 8.00 pm.
Where: Broughton St Mary’s Church, 12 Bellevue Cres, Edinburgh EH3 6NE.
This will be a talk by the recently-appointed Chairman of the Cockburn Association, Cliff Hague. He will return to Lord Cockburn’s famous letter, “Letter to the Lord Provost on the Best Ways of Spoiling the Beauty of Edinburgh”, and will suggest it still has remarkable relevance for us today at a time when the city is developing and changing rapidly. He will consider ways in which Edinburgh could be enhanced as a place to live, work and visit; how to meet the needs and expectations of different people and groups in the city; and how to balance continuity and change in the creation and renewal of a modern city. Tickets are free for members but please rsvp – for non-members there will be a charge at the door of £5.

The City Talks: Glasgows Changing Skyline
When: 2nd November 2016 at 18:00pm.
Where: Cottiers Theater, 93 Hyndland Street, Glasgow, G11 5PU.
Glasgow is a city which never sleeps! A cultural and economic hub with an ever-changing skyline; but is this constant evolution the sign of an exciting city, or is Glasgow losing the unique historic built environment at the heart of its soul? Our panel of speakers will discuss the pros and cons of becoming a modern metropolis, and the challenges faced when incorporating the old with the new. This event will start with a tribute to Gareth Hoskins life and work by Chris Colman-Smith, director at Hoskins Architects.

Politicians in Planning Annual Conference
When: Saturday, 19 November 2016 at 9:30AM – 4:30PM.
Where: Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester, M2 5NS.
Overcoming Common Challenges across the UK and Ireland through Planning. Planning powers are devolved within the United Kingdom. But the challenges of delivering housing, infrastructure and enhancing the environment are common challenges faced by decision makers in each of the countries. For the first time, the annual PIPA conference will open up to politicians in all countries of the United Kingdom and Ireland to explore common themes faced by local elected decision makers, to learn from each other and take back with them the tools to help them make the most of their planning decision making powers. To be eligible to attend this conference you must be a politician.


CPD at Glasgow City Heritage Trust, 54 Bell Street, Glasgow, this autumn:

  • Scaffold for Heritage Projects
  • Traditional Window Maintenance and Repair
  • Care and Maintenance of Historic Brick.

Full details available here.

Training for PAS volunteers this autumn: 

  • Enhance Your Presentation Skills – few places left!
    Thursday 20 October, 6pm – 8pm, Edinburgh. Learn how to prepare and give more effective presentations.
  • Enhance Your Facilitation Skills and volunteering for Charretteplus®
    Wednesday 26 October, 6pm – 8.30pm, Edinburgh. Learn how to lead more effective workshops and discussion groups at PAS Charretteplus® exercises and other community events.
  • Enhance your Youth Engagement Skills
    Thursday 10 November, 6pm – 8pm, Edinburgh. Learn how to engage more effectively with children and young people in schools settings.

Please email PAS to book your place for any or all of these events and remember to specify which event(s) you wish to attend.


Project Officer (Fraserburgh 2021) Fixed Term
To assist the Project Manager with the delivery of the Fraserburgh 2021 Townscape Heritage/CARS scheme with the aim of securing lasting high quality physical improvements to the historic built environment of the town. There is a responsibility for the post holder to demonstrate a commitment to quality service delivery through continuous improvement for the benefit of the Service and the organisation.

Engagement Officer Fraserburgh 2021 (Fixed Term)
To undertake engagement and liaison work to raise awareness of, stimulate interest in, understand and promote the Fraserburgh 2021 Townscape Heritage/CARS scheme. This will be achieved by working with key partners including building owners, local communities, special interest groups and contractors to tell the story of Fraserburgh town centre. There is a responsibility for the post holder to demonstrate a commitment to quality service delivery through continuous improvement for the benefit of the Service and the organisation.

PAS Volunteer Intern Opportunity 
1 day per week, research and writing relating to sponsorship of new PAS project for 2017 as well as trusts and foundations, based at PAS office: contact Robert Pickles ( for more information.


CIfA initial response to AQA withdrawal of A-level Archaeology (CIfA 13/10/16)
On 12 October, the AQA exam board announced that it would be dropping the A-level Archaeology course as of next year. This decision, which comes out of the blue, is extremely damaging for the sector, particularly as there is a noted shortage of archaeologists to meet demand created by the growth in national infrastructure projects and the sector has been pouring resources into diversifying routes into the profession.

IHBC’s 2016 School reports in Context, with new perspectives on power, people, place (IHBC 12/10/16)
IHBC’s new issue of its celebrated membership journal, Context, is now out, offering diverse reports and perspectives on the institute’s 2016 Annual School, including Loyd Grossman’s keynote presentation, alongside the essential IHBC officer updates as well as added critical insights to wider practice such as charging options in listing and the challenges of conserving a purpose-designed ruin.

New Support Officers Join The AHF (AHF 07/10/16)
At the start of October, we welcomed five new Support Officers to the team, thanks to additional funding from the UK Treasury and Historic England. At grass roots level the Support Officers at the Architectural Heritage Fund are often the first point of call in the initial stages of a project starting up and becoming viable. They help community organisations to apply to the fund for grants for early development work and project planning, through to loans for acquisition and as working capital for project delivery.

National Trust for Scotland moves ahead with big changes (NTS 04/10/16)
Trustees of Scotland’s largest conservation charity, the 350,000-member National Trust for Scotland, have unanimously agreed to move forward with a transformational programme of change. The changes see the Trust moving from seven directorates and departments down to four, with HQ functions streamlined to support a new regional properties structure – there will be six regional groupings of built heritage properties and one nationwide grouping of natural heritage properties.

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.