BEFS Bulletin – Planning Updates & Built Environment Events

Get the latest built environment news, events, vacancies, consultations and publications with BEFS bi-monthly bulletin.


The Chief Planner has provided an update on progress with the review of the Scottish planning system. An analysis of responses to the Position Statement was also published last week. If you missed BEFS response in August, you can find it and a comment on the Position Statement on our website. Finally, to find information about where the planning review is up to and the work that has been done so far, you may wish to check out RTPI Scotland’s updated Planning Review webpage.

As readers will be aware, the SNP Conference 2017 took place this week. BEFS was pleased to see that a resolution submitted by Ben Macpherson MSP (Edinburgh North & Leith) on the important issue of Maintenance of Tenement Communal Property was passed.

BEFS newest team member, Policy and Advocacy Officer, Ailsa Macfarlane, reflects on the Scottish Government’s recent conference on housing in our blog this week.

We have once again an array of fascinating built environment events, conference, seminars and away-days taking place in October and November. For details see our events section below or BEFS calendar.


A consultation on a draft revised code of conduct for registered property factors
Opened 6 Oct 2017 and closes on 15 Jan 2018.

Guidance for Local Authorities when carrying out their new duties and functions under Part 9 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015
Closes 17 Nov 2017.

Consultation Responses

Planning Review: Analysis of Position Statement Responses (SG 06/10/17)


Brexit: What’s at stake for businesses (SG 11/10/17)

Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (SG 28/09/17)

Scottish Government News Releases

New scheme to boost investment in housing (SG 12/10/17)
Rental income guarantee scheme to support build-to-rent market. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has announced the launch of a Rental Income Guarantee Scheme (RIGS), to boost new investment in private rented housing.

Beyond City Deals (SG 05/10/17)
Next steps for city region deals outlined. The Scottish Government will support the creation of regional economic partnerships across Scotland as a vehicle to drive inclusive economic growth, Economy Secretary Keith Brown has confirmed. As outlined in the Enterprise and Skills Review, the expansion of the regional economic policy beyond city deals will pave the way for regional economic partnerships for every part of Scotland.

Scotland’s economy continues to grow (SG 04/10/17)
GDP grows by 0.1% over second quarter of 2017. Scotland’s GDP grew by 0.1% in the second quarter of 2017, increasing by a total of 0.7% since the start of the year, according to Scotland’s latest GDP statistics published today. Over the past 12 months, Scotland’s GDP increased by 0.5%, with the services industry in particular driving growth.

Making more of Scotland’s land (SG 28/09/17)
Vision for land rights and responsibilities. A ‘world first’ vision for land rights and responsibilities has been published. The Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement outlines a strong and dynamic relationship between its land and people, where rights and responsibilities are fully recognised and fulfilled.

Support for housing (SG 28/09/17)
Challenge fund announced for custom and self-built homes. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart will today announce £90,000 to support pilot projects to assist people wanting to build their own homes with a new Challenge Fund. Speaking at the closing event of the Festival of Architecture in Edinburgh on Thursday, Mr Stewart will confirm the new fund will be open for applications by the end of October.

News Releases

Is Dumfries the happiest place in Scotland? (BBC 11/10/17)
A south of Scotland town has emerged as the happiest in the country, according to a recent survey.
Dumfries was named the top spot north of the border in the annual “happy at home” index compiled by Rightmove.

Record-breaking summer for Scotland’s historic sites (HES 06/10/17)
It’s been a spectacular summer for Scotland’s historic sites as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announced record-breaking visitor figures for the 2017 summer season today (Friday 6th October).
The period from April to September 2017 saw the historic sites in the care of HES record an impressive overall 20% increase in footfall on the same period last year, making it the busiest season on record.

Report – Alienating, insecure and unaffordable: Living in Scotland’s Private Rented Sector (CW 06/10/17)
The private rented sector continues to have an appalling record on housing security, affordability and quality, a Common Weal report analysing new data on the experience of households in Scotland has found.  Its findings are based on data in the Scottish Household Survey 2016, published by the Scottish Government at the end of September this year.

£2 billion boost for affordable housing and long term deal for social rent (DCLG & PM 04/10/17)
Government has confirmed plans for a new generation of council and housing association homes. Funding for affordable homes will be increased by a further £2 billion to more than £9 billion.

Public sector building projects must focus on quality – Holyrood Committee (SP 03/10/17)
Lessons must be learned by the entire public sector in order to make sure that new public buildings are safe. This is the conclusion of a report issued today by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee which looked at the safety of the school estate in Scotland.

Work begins on multimillion pound Green Infrastructure projects (SNH 03/10/17)
Close to £20 million will be spent transforming urban green spaces, says Scottish Natural Heritage. Work has begun on one of seven major urban greenspace projects that have been awarded Green Infrastructure Funds (GIF) by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). SNH is delivering this funding on behalf of Scottish Government, using money from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Scottish Natural Heritage Announces Social Housing Research (SNH 03/10/17)
On World Habitat Day, Scottish Natural Heritage announces recently commissioned research into the opportunities for green infrastructure within housing projects Everyone in Scotland should be able to access nature on their doorstep, according to new SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska.

Fanfare as Paisley launches City of Culture 2021 bid (BBC 29/09/17)
Paisley’s bid to become the UK City of Culture 2021 has been sent off with a fanfare in the town.
Crowds gathered to wave flags and watch more than 150 singers perform songs with Paisley roots.

Members’ News

Aspiring for Change in Cowdenbeath (PAS 11/10/17)
PAS has embarked on a new and exciting project made possible by the Aspiring Communities Fund and the European Social Fund led by the Scottish Government. The project kicked off in September at Beath High School where we hosted a performance of ‘Plan’ for around 20 pupils.

RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 now open for entries (RTPI)
The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are the longest running and most high-profile awards in the industry. For 40 years they have rewarded the brightest talent in the profession; the teams, projects and individuals that transform economies, environments and their communities all over the UK and internationally.

Satirical view of the Planning Review – It’s all up Bill Plannning now! (RTPI 29/09/17)
Jim Birrell provides a lighthearted take on the planning review. It was a time of turbulence and tempest. Two men and a wise lady told us so in 60 pages of inspiration, perspiration and independence of thought. “Your system for the planning world is not broken but it badly needs fixed, repaired and you must speak with your people more and mean it”.

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”.

Graham Simpson S5W-11852
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will put measures or exemptions in place in energy efficiency legislation to ensure that (a) important heritage, (b) listed and (c) pre-1919 buildings are protected from inappropriate adaptations. (SP 06/10/17)

Graham Simpson S5W-11853
To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that lessons learned from failing energy retrofit remedies to traditional buildings are made available to homeowners and assessors. (SP 06/10/17)

Graham Simpson S5W-11854
To ask the Scottish Government how it can ensure that there will be a supply chain of professional accredited assessors for traditional buildings; how it will assess their accreditation standards, what steps it is taking to ensure that training and qualifications are developed to establish a qualified workforce to support the installation of energy efficiency measures. (SP 06/10/17)

Graham Simpson S5W-11855
To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers the Energy Performance Certificate to be appropriate for stone-built properties, and what the reasons are for its position on this matter. (SP 06/10/17)

Graham Simpson S5W-11856
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to review the (a) Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure and (b) Energy Performance Certificate to incorporate Scotland-specific building performance data. (SP 06/10/17)

Rhoda Grant S5W-11860
To ask the Scottish Government what measures it will put in place to ensure that buildings are wind and watertight before it introduces measures to address energy efficiency, such as a Warm Homes Bill and the Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme. (SP 06/10/17)

Patrick Harvie S5W-11851
To ask the Scottish Government what the timescale is for the next revision of the National Planning Framework. (SP 05/10/17)

Andy Wightman S5W-11720 
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to consult on vacant land, as announced by the First Minister on 2 March 2016. (SP 04/10/17)

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-11429: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/09/2017
To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many private high-rise blocks in each local authority area have combustible cladding.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (28/09/2017)

Question S5W-11426: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/09/2017
To ask the Scottish Government how many community land purchases have been made in each local authority area; when each purchase took place and what the acreage was of each.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (28/09/2017)

Question S5W-11425: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/09/2017
To ask the Scottish Government when its report into community land purchases will be published.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (28/09/2017)

Question S5W-11380: Dean Lockhart, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 19/09/2017
To ask the Scottish Government what resources it will contribute towards the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Deal, and when it expects the negotiations regarding the deal to conclude.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (29/09/2017):

Question S5W-11428: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/09/2017
To ask the Scottish Government how many (a) housing association, (b) local authority and (c) private sector-run (i) sheltered and (ii) very sheltered homes there are.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (02/10/2017)

Other Parliamentary Activity

The Parliament has agreed the following parliamentary recess dates in 2017:
•    7 to 22 October 2017 (inclusive)
•    23 December 2017 to 7 January 2018 (inclusive)


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

Lecture: How the Other Half Lives
When: 19th October from 7pm-9pm.
Where: GCHT, 54 Bell Street, Glasgow.
More than any other city in Scotland, Glasgow is renowned for its traditional tenements. Often considered to be class-neutral they provide accommodation ranging from the tiny, single room flat to an enormous elite apartment, helping to create integrated communities and physical homogeneity.

Community Empowerment – implications for planning and property
When: 9.30am – 4.00pm, Tuesday 24 October 2017.
Where: PAS, 125 Princes Street, Edinburgh.
This conference (run jointly by JH Planning and PAS) focuses on those aspects of current and anticipated future legislation that will have a particular impact on the built environment – and in particular on:
•    Extension of the community right to buy to urban areas
•    Asset transfer requests
•    Aligning community planning and spatial planning through a statutory link
•    Incorporation of community-led local place plans into the local development plan

Cockburn Annual Lecture – Mapping Edinburgh’s Social History
When: Thu 26 October 2017, 19:00 – 21:00.
Where: City Chambers, 253 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ.
Buildings and urban design – spaces and places – inform the way we use, remember and navigate the city, and so sensitivity to memories of the urban past are central to individual identity, civic engagement and community building in the future. The presentation by Professor Richard Rodger will explore how an understanding of the ways spaces and places developed in Edinburgh is crucial to understanding the contemporary city.

Perth: Past, Present, Future
When: Thursday 26 October 2017, 7.00pm-9.00pm.
Where: Royal George Hotel, Tay Street, Perth.
Perth: the fair city in the heart of Scotland. Once a thriving hub of enterprise large and small, has Perth now lost its way? A key event to highlight the joint 50th anniversaries of the Scottish Civic Trust and Perth Civic Trust, this seminar considers Perth’s history and heyday, its current issues and challenges, and what can be done to encourage a more positive future, with a particular emphasis on retailing in the city centre. There will be plenty of opportunities for discussion and questions.

Icon Conference: Scotland Tour of Highlights
When: 27th October, from 9.00 – 16.30
Where: Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
Due to popular demand, Icon Scotland Group will host a one-day event returning to some of the themes and presentations given in the Scotland and Care of Collections Group sessions at last year’s Icon conference in Birmingham. The day will comprise ten presentations from across the UK on a wide range of subjects and will allow plenty of time for networking. Refreshments and lunch are
provided. Tickets: £30 – £70.

The architecture of Kininmonth & Spence
When: 2nd November, 17:30 – 19:00.
Where: University of Edinburgh, Minto House, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JZ.
The architectural historian Dr. Clive B. Fenton, of Docomomo Scotland, will talk about the 1930s design of the renowned architects William Kininmonth and Basil Spence, firstly for their own architectural firm in Edinburgh during the early 1930s and later as part of Rowand Anderson, Paul & Partners.

Celebrating 250 years of Edinburgh’s New Town
When: 13th November, from 18:30 – 20:00.
Where: St. Andrew’s & St. George’s West Church, George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PA.
Join us to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Edinburgh’s New Town with an evening of lectures and films at the wonderful Georgian church of St. Andrew’s & St. George’s West, an absolute New Town highlight. The speakers are Dr. James Simpson OBE, cofounder of the renowned architectural firm Simpson & Brown, and Ranald MacInnes, a long-term heritage specialist at Historic Scotland / Historic Environment Scotland. Details of their talks and the film screenings will be published shortly.

Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders Archaeology Conference
When: Saturday November 18, from 9:00am – 4:45pm.
Where: Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh.
This annual conference is organised by City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council and Scottish Borders Council.  It provides an important opportunity to hear and discuss first-hand accounts of the archaeological fieldwork and research being undertaken in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, and the Scottish Borders.

Scotland’s Towns Conference 2017 – Creating the Future History of Scotland’s Towns: The Key to Social, Cultural and Economic Wellbeing
When: 21st November, from 9am – 4pm.
Where: Paisley Town Hall.
This year Scotland celebrates the richness of its history and heritage, and the role of the past in shaping our present-day places, cultures and identities. This is particularly true for towns, whose heritage tells our story as a nation, from medieval burghs and seats of kings, to hubs of the industrial revolution, and ‘new town’ symbols of post-war modernity.

SCT Conference 2017: 50 Years of Conservation Areas – Booking Now Open!
When: 27 November 2017
Where: Trades Hall, Glasgow.
As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations and recognising that the Civic Amenities Act was passed in 1967, the Scottish Civic Trust’s next annual conference, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and The Institute of Historic Building Conservation, will tackle the theme of “Fifty years of conservation areas” – what has been learned, what has been lost, and what are the threats and opportunities in the future.

Helen Shenton to give 2017 Plenderleith Lecture
When: 30th November, from 18.15 – 19.15.
Where: National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh.
Icon Scotland Group is delighted to announce that this year’s Plenderleith Lecture will be given by Helen Shenton, Librarian and College Archivist of Trinity College Dublin. The title of the 20th Annual Harold Plenderleith Memorial Lecture will be, “Conservation+, personal reflections on a journey from conservator to director”. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception. The event will as usual be preceded by Icon Scotland Group’s AGM (to which all Group members are invited) from 17.00 -18.00. Tickets for the Plenderleith Lecture can be obtained through Eventbrite. We are also pleased to announce that a CPD visit to the National Museums Conservation Collections Centre in Granton will run in the afternoon of the same day from 14.30 to 16.30, and is bookable separately through Eventbrite.

Training the City: Built Heritage Legacy of a Railway Battle
When: Monday 4th December 2017, at 6.30pm.
Where: St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PA.
Tom Parnell is an architectural historian, and is currently a Senior Casework Officer for Historic Environment Scotland. He has a personal interest in the built heritage legacy of railway development and de-development. His talk looks at railways in Edinburgh, particularly the dash for Leith in the later 19th Century, examining what might have been, what was lost and what legacy survives today.


Traditional Masonry Repair C2-Contractor Level 2
When: 24 – 26 October 2017.
Where: Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
Time: 09.30 – 16.30
This 3 day workshop builds on the knowledge and skills gained on ‘C1 Making and Using Traditional Mortars’. The workshop aims to enable you to complete seamless rebuilding and repair of traditional masonry to match original work.

Maintaining Traditional Buildings
When: 27 October 2017
Where: Charlestown Workshops, Fife
Time: 10.00 – 15.00
A must for anyone who owns or is responsible for a traditional building.
The seminar provides the perfect starting point if you are considering undertaking some simple repairs yourself or will enable you to speak your builder’s language and be confident that you are being given the correct advice.

Resourcing Scotland Heritage Training
25th October – In Focus: Full Cost Recovery (Edinburgh)
2nd November – Fundraising: Make it Happen (St Andrews)
15th November – In Focus: Storytelling using Media (Edinburgh)
22nd November – Telling it like it is: How effective copywriting can help your case for support (Glasgow)

Full details can be found on the website.


Curator/Senior Curator, Medieval Archaeology & History
Based at the National Museum of Scotland this permanent, full-time post will support the work of the Scottish History and Archaeology Department. Working within the Department’s Medieval Archaeology and History Section, which is concerned with the period in Scotland’s history from the Romans to the Renaissance, your duties will include responsibility for collections; acquisitions; exhibitions; research; publications; and responding to public enquiries.
Closing Date: Sunday, October 29th, 2017.

IHBC Consultant Policy Advisor
The Institute of Historic Building Conservation is commissioning consultancy services to carry out its Policy function. The work will commence immediately and the current contract will last for 12 months from the date of appointment when the IHBC the contract will be reviewed. As the IHBC’s Consultant Policy Advisor you will:
•    help to shape the IHBC’s approach to policy and advocacy activities;
•    enhance our ability to develop and respond to policy support and strengthen IHBC’s ability and capacity to influence the policies of governments, voluntary and professional bodies and non-governmental organizations throughout the UK;
•    respond to consultations and take part in policy debates;
•    build policy relationships on behalf of IHBC;
•    promote the value of conservation and of the conservation profession to policy makers.
Closing date: 17.00 on Monday 23 October.

Could you be the next SPAB Scholar or Fellow?
The search is on for our 2018 Scholars and Fellows and if you’re an architect, building surveyor or engineer interested in building conservation then think about applying for the SPAB Scholarship. SPAB are also looking for craftspeople with a passion for old buildings and conservative repair for the Fellowship programme.
Apply by submitting a completed application form by 1st December.

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.