BEFS Bulletin – NPF4 Consultation Responses, Town Centres & Retail

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


The Heritage Alliance has published an open letter on The Threat to Ukraine’s Heritage, addressed to the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Olga Borisovna Lyubimova. Read the European Heritage Heads Forum official statement of solidarity and support here.

31 March marked the end of the public consultation on the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4). Read BEFS response to the NPF4 Consultation, and our response to the Local Development Planning Regulations and Guidance Consultation, along with responses from BEFS Members on our website.

The Scottish Parliament Local Government, Housing and Planning Committeehas published its report on the draft NPF4, after consultation with stakeholders (including BEFS) through evidence sessions and a call for views. The tight timeline for scrutiny has widely been cause for some concern, and BEFS notes the publication of a joint letter from the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence calling for a pause on NPF4 to seek further clarification from Scottish Government.

On the BEFS blog, Kathie Pollard, Policy and Practice Lead at the Scottish Land Commission, looks back at Land Reuse Month 2022. Read her recap of the sessions and resources highlighting the role of the public sector in bringing Scotland’s vacant and derelict land back into use.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its latest report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change. Launching the report, IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea noted that “Action in this decade is critical to capture the mitigation potential of buildings.”

Professionals who are involved in, or work with, the heritage sector are invited to complete a short survey on Barriers to Climate Mitigation in the Built Heritage Sector. The survey aims to achieve significant insight into the current barriers to mitigating climate change in Scotland’s older buildings. Last few days – the survey closes on Monday, 11 April.

Are you part of a local civic trust, heritage group, history society or development trust? Scottish Civic Trust are running a survey to find out how local groups operating in the civic environment across Scotland are faring in a post-COVID, post-Brexit world. Meanwhile, Glasgow City Heritage Trust are seeking your thoughtsabout the current state of Glasgow’s built heritage.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund are highlighting their £40m COVID-19 Response Fund, which is available to support heritage assets that are nationally important in Scotland and the UK and at risk due to the impact of the pandemic.

Historic Environment Scotland has published ‘Heritage For All’ – its new Corporate Plan for 2022 Onwards. HES has also opened expressions of interest for its Heritage & Place Programme, with grants up to £1.5million available for the regeneration of Scotland’s heritage areas.

The prospectus for the second round of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund has been published.

Booking is now open for the IHBC Annual School 15-18 June 2022 in Aberdeen. A variety of delegate options including hybrid and virtual are available.

Registration is also open for Archaeological Research in Progress 2022; a one day conference hosted by Archaeology Scotland presenting new research and findings covering all periods from across Scotland and beyond.

Call for Papers: Managing Imperial Legacies conference, 22 – 23 June. Managing Imperial Legacies is a 2-year networking project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh whose purpose is to highlight how the legacies of white supremacy can be found within the built environment. Submissions are welcomed from those able to attend both in person, and online – with funding for day travel available to community groups and individuals unaffiliated to institutions or without access to funding, who are hoping to present in person.

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Consultation Responses

Draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) Consultation – BEFS Response (31/3/22)

Local Development Planning – Regulations & Guidance Consultation – BEFS Response (31/3/22)

New Realities of Retail and Ecommerce Call for Views – BEFS Response (16/3/22)

New Realities of Retail and Ecommerce Call for Views – Published responses

Heat networks delivery plan – draft: consultation analysis (31/3/22)


IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: Mitigation of Climate Change
The Working Group III Report assesses the mitigation of climate change, examines the sources of global emissions and explains developments in emission reduction and mitigation efforts.

IHBC Guidance Notes: Design sources for historic building conservation (02/22)
This new IHBC Toolbox Guidance Note seeks to provide guidance and information sources on design concepts and issues in relation to the IHBC Design/Presentation competence.

Guidance for Peatland Restoration and the Historic Environment in Scotland (ALGAO Scotland, 03/2022)
The intention of this Guidance Note is to set out an informed procedure to secure the protection of heritage and historic environment features within peatland restoration projects across Scotland.

Heritage Tourism in 2021: An Overview (Heritage Futures, 21/3/22)
The impact that the pandemic has made on the heritage sector is made clear by visitor figures for 2021.

Community Insights (David Hume Institute, 23/3/22)
Building on DHI’s Action Project and a Scotland of Better Places, DHI embarked on a project with the William Grant Foundation aiming to develop new insights from correlating open data about Scotland’s communities. A summary of their findings and three deep dive insights into Buckhaven, Campbeltown, and Stranraer are now available.

The Cádiz Document: InnovaConcrete Guidelines for Conservation of Concrete Heritage (ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on 20 Century Heritage, 23/3/22)
Guidance for the conservation of concrete heritage with respect to its cultural, historical, aesthetic, social and technological values that define its significance.

The Scottish Third Sector Tracker — Challenges and support for Scotland’s Third Sector: analysis from Wave One’s open questions (SCVO, 28/3/22)
The Scottish Third Sector Tracker is a longitudinal panel survey gathering regular insights from Third Sector organisations (TSOs) in Scotland. The first wave of data collection was completed between June and August 2021.

Vacant & Derelict Land – Community Impact Tool (Scottish Land Commission)
This tool is made up of a survey with a scoring system that has been designed to help understand and collect evidence of how a vacant or derelict site makes communities feel.

Community Wealth Building and Land (Scottish Land Commission)
This guidance sets out actions that can be taken in the short and long term to support an inclusive, sustainable, and empowered local economy, where land is used and managed productively and in the public interest.

Heritage and Climate Change: A strategy for Historic England’s response to the climate, energy and biodiversity crisis (Historic England)

Scottish Government Publications

Getting the Right Change – retail strategy for Scotland (24/3/22)

Heat networks delivery plan (31/3/22)
Sets out how provisions of the Heat Networks Scotland Act 2021 and wider policy will contribute to increasing heat networks in Scotland.

City Centre Recovery Task Force: report (31/3/22)
Co-produced with the Scottish Cities Alliance, this report sets out the specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on city centres, and identifies the immediate priorities to support city centre recovery.

Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (SLGFS) 2020-21
Annual publication providing a comprehensive overview of financial activity of Scottish local authorities in 2020-21 based on authorities’ audited accounts.

News Releases

Fiona Hyslop welcomes Culture Minister to Linlithgow Palace (Edinburgh News, 22/3/22)
Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop welcomed the new Culture Minister, Neil Gray, to Linlithgow Palace, along with representatives from Historic Environment Scotland.

Bringing empty homes back into use ‘could help housing shortage’ (STV News, 22/3/22)
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership said 43,766 long-term empty properties exist in Scotland.

New land ownership register to launch in Scotland (Farming UK, 28/3/22)
The public register, set to launch on 1 April, is part of the Scottish government’s commitment to improve transparency of land ownership.

Jedburgh youngsters get a taste of construction with traditional skills ‘mini masterclasses’ (Project Scotland, 29/3/22)
The demonstration day was delivered by Build Your Future as part of the Jedburgh Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme.

Concerns raised with Scottish Government about continued closure of Kisimul Castle on Isle of Barra (Press and Journal, 29/3/22)
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has written to the Scottish Government’s constitution, external Affairs and culture minister, Angus Robertson, seeking clarity on the castle’s future.

National Trust for Scotland looks to create 300 jobs with £38m investment (BBC, 31/3/22)

Trade bodies give mixed response to draft national planning 4 framework (Project Scotland, 31/3/22)
Homes for Scotland (HFS) warned that the plans risk making the housing crisis worse, warning that the shortfall is approaching 100,000 homes. However, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) welcomed the ‘ambitions’ of the Scottish Government.

Historic sites across Scotland open their doors to visitors once more (HES, 31/3/22)
April marks the start of Historic Environment Scotland’s reopening of a number of seasonal sites.

£1.5 million targeted at tackling empty Dumfries town centre buildings (Daily Record, 1/4/22)
The Dumfries Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), Dumfries Partnership Action Group (DPAG), Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the council have come together to develop Dynamically Different Dumfries.

Scottish Government to ban bring in tough flammable cladding ban (The Herald, 4/4/22)
All new residential and “high-risk” buildings above 11m in Scotland will be banned from using combustible materials.

Opinion & Comment

Noella Pio Kivlehan: Buildings that elevated cities: the Pompidou Centre (RICS Modus, 10/3/22)
Does Paris’s innovative ‘inside out’ building provide a groundbreaking arts playground or is it a grotesquely attention-seeking eyesore?

Rowan Moore: Rip it up and start again? The great Cumbernauld town centre debate (The Observer, 3/4/22)
Depending on who you ask, it is either a blight on the landscape or a fine example of 1960s brutalism. Is demolition the right answer?

Leigh Sparks: A Retail Strategy for Scotland (4/4/22)
The Professor of Retail Studies at the Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling reflects on the newly published Retail Strategy for Scotland.

Parliamentary Questions and Answers

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”.

S6W-07194: Sharon Dowey, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date lodged: 10 March 2022
To ask the Scottish Government how many of Historic Environment Scotland’s properties are being left, as has been reported, to “gracefully die”.
Answered by Neil Gray on 16 March 2022

S6W-06895: McLennan, Paul, East Lothian, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 2 March 2022
“To ask the Scottish Government whether the provisions in the UK Building Safety Bill that apply to Scotland will be enacted through a statutory instrument in the Scottish Parliament, and, if so, what it anticipates the potential impact will be on the built environment in Scotland.”
Answered by Shona Robison on 15 March 2022

S6W-07206Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/03/2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will urgently consider revising the criteria applied to insulation installations in the Western Isles, in light of reports that Tighean Innse Gall is no longer able to administer government-funded insulation projects due to the PAS 2035 standards causing demand for such schemes to collapse in the islands.
Answered by Patrick Harvie (24/03/2022)

S6W-07149Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 9 March 2022
To ask the Scottish Government how much it has cost Historic Environment Scotland to erect and maintain scaffolding at the Dun Carloway Broch site since July 2019.
Answered by Neil Gray on 16 March 2022

S6W-07307Griffin, Mark, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15 March 2022
“To ask the Scottish Government what the (a) scope and (b) timeline is of the empty homes audit.”
Answered by: Shona Robison on 25 March 2022

S6W-07359Griffin, Mark, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17 March 2022
“To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Homes for Scotland report, The Social and Economic Benefits of Home Building in Scotland.”
Answered by: Shona Robison on 25 March 2022

Stephen Kerr, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party,
Town Centres:
S6W-06988: developing community enterprises and entrepreneurship that are based around local and circular economies.
S6W-06984: plans to increase number of people living in town centres.
S6W-06987: plans to encourage local small businesses to set up on the high street.
Answered by Tom Arthur

Other Parliamentary Activity

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee: Tenement property and common repairs
Letter from the Convener to the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, 10 March 2022
The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee has written to Shona Robison to ask if the four-year timetable for the Scottish Law Commission’s work on tenement property and common repairs is appropriate.

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee: Draft Fourth National Planning Framework
Letter from the Convener, Health, Social Care and Sport Committee to the Convener, Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, 24 February 2022 (published 17/3/22)

Economy and Fair Work Committee 30 March 2022 [Draft]
Meeting date: Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Transcript of evidence session on Town Centres and Retail with Professor Leigh Sparks, deputy principal and professor of retail studies at the University of Stirling.


Motion ref. S6M-03743
A Diversity and Inclusion Charter for Businesses in the Built Environment
Submitted by: Paul McLennan, East Lothian, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: Friday, March 25, 2022

Motion ref. S6M-03816
Social and Economic Benefits of Home Building in Scotland
Submitted by: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Monday, April 4, 2022 R

Motion ref. S6M-03655
Celebrating 10 Years of the Ridge, Dunbar
Submitted by: Paul McLennan, East Lothian, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: Friday, March 18, 202


For the full list of BEFS Members’ upcoming events see our events calendar.

AHSS Forth & Borders: The Impact of Enslavement on Scotland’s Built Environment
Date & Time: 11 April, 18:30
Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh
Drawing on her recent research for the National Trust for Scotland, Jennifer Melville provides historic examples of the acquisition and enhancement of properties in Scotland by Scots living in the West Indies, where a disproportionate number of Scots settled, and shows how wealth derived from the enslavement of people in these far-flung colonies came to have such a significant impact on Scotland’s buildings.

Under One Roof: Beyond the Tenement Acts: Landlords and common legal issues 
Date & Time: 12 April, 12:00
Owners can find reading and understanding legislation to be one of the more difficult parts of tenement flat ownership. However, it is important that powers understand key parts of this legislation, such as the Right of Support; Right to Light; negligence and damage. Join us to learn about the common law legislation that is useful to tenement flats from industry experts.

IHBC Scotland Branch: A Modern Vernacular? Mass Housing as a Place-Specific Global and Local Heritage
Date & time: 20 April, 19.30
A talk by Miles Glendinning, Professor in Architectural Conservation at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies, about High-Rise Tower blocks and their conservation. This is a precursor to June’s IHBC Annual School which will be in Aberdeen, a hybrid in person and online event, as well as forming part of our occasional online CPD series.
Contact to register.

LIS: The Narrative of Scotland’s Post War Designed Landscapes
Date & Time: 20 April 18:00 – 19:30
The Landscape Institute Scotland Mark Turnbull Travel Award lecture celebrates the profession’s postwar landscape narrative that continues to evolve and inspire as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories. Speakers include Charlotte McLean, Winner of the Mark Turnbull Travel Award,
Dr Julie Candy, Helen Bowman, and Veronica Fraser from Historic Environment Scotland, and Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Town Centre Action Plan 2 Series: #5 Digital: Transforming Our Towns
Date & Time: 21 April, 10:00 – 11:15
In this final session in Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s TCAP2 Series, we focus on digital and the potential for transformative change; creating equitable opportunities for businesses, people and places.  Participants will hear from industry experts and exemplars, with ample opportunity for questions and discussion.


PKHT: Bon Accord Baths – A Conservation Statement
Date & Time: 27 April, 12.30 – 13.30pm
For the first session of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust’s 6-part Architectural Conservation CPD series, attendees will hear from Ian Davidson of Aberdeen’s Bon Accord Baths about their conservation statement. If you are looking to refresh your conservation knowledge or encounter historic buildings as part of your work portfolio, then this is the CPD programme for you.

A&BS: Attracting Sponsorship for Regional & Rural Organisations
Date & Time: 26 April, 10:00 – 12:00
This short session will explore a range of tools and tactics for organisations across Scotland to identify sponsorship opportunities and implement the most effective approaches to attract sponsorship. Corporate partnerships offer excellent opportunities to build and strengthen wider fundraising activities for regional and rural organisations.

A&BS: Developing Creative Partnerships – level 2
Date & Time: 27 & 28 April, 09:30 – 12:30
This two-session course provides a comprehensive training opportunity to deepen your knowledge of corporate fundraising. The course includes practical training on critical skills for sponsorship including effective prospecting, aligning your pitch, and delivering a partnership ready for renewal.

PAS: Community Engagement Skills (SP=EED Verification Part 1)
Date & Time: Thursday 5 May, 10am – 3pm
SP=EED® is a unique skills development programme aimed at planners and others who would like to develop their community engagement skills and knowledge.  This interactive workshop is an opportunity to deepen your understanding of effective engagement, explore creative tools and techniques, share experiences and learn from others.  ‘Extremely useful for any profession which involves both built environment and people’s opinions’


Under One Roof: Education and Training Officer
Salary: £25,000
Under One Roof is looking for someone from a third sector, housing, or architectural background whose skills will help expand the organisation’s impact with tenement flat owners.
Closing date: Friday 8 April

Fife Employment Access Trust: Silverburn Park Flax Mill Project
FEAT have secured Delivery Phase funding from the NLHF for the renovation and conversion of the B listed Flax Mill at Silverburn Park, a 27-acre public park on the outskirts of Leven in Fife, into a Visitor Centre and Community Hub. The Flax Mill will contain a cafe? and restaurant, meeting and event space, arts and crafts studios, office space, a backpackers’ hostel, and interpretative displays.
FEAT is seeking a full-time employee to run the Activities Programme as well as a consultancy position for Development Officer.
Activities Co-ordinator – Silverburn Park Flax Mill Project
Closing date Monday 11 April
Invitation to Tender: Development Officer for Silverburn Flax Mill Renovation
Deadline for submissions Monday 18 April

Edinburgh World Heritage: Conservation Architect and Grants Manager
Full time, permanent
Salary: £32,960-£36,771
Edinburgh World Heritage is looking to appoint a Conservation Architect and Grants Manager to deliver our Conservation Funding Programme to protect and support the World Heritage Site. The Conservation Architect & Grants Manager leads and provides strategic direction for conservation and enhancement of the built heritage, working with stakeholders and communities to deliver meaningful projects.
Closing date: Monday 11 April

Edinburgh World Heritage: Climate Change Project Officer
Full time for a fixed term to 31st March 2025 (0.8FTE may be considered)
Salary: £28,840-£30,900
Edinburgh World Heritage is looking to appoint a Climate Change Project Officer to help deliver our Climate Emergency programme and to enable Edinburgh’s heritage to be better managed and more resilient. The Climate Change Project Officer is responsible for delivering innovative projects that aim to test technical solutions and define best practice, primarily in relation to sensitive energy efficiency retrofit of historic buildings.
Closing date: Monday 18 April

Fife Historic Buildings Trust: Finance & Administration Officer
Full time or job share, fixed term to 31 March 2024.
Salary: £28,000 – £30,000
FHBT are recruiting for a charity finance professional to co-ordinate the financial activities of FHBT. Sound financial control underpins all the great work we do, and this is an opportunity to bring your experience to join a welcoming and high achieving team, and play your part in our work for people and historic places in Fife.
Closing date: Tuesday 26 April

Scottish Civic Trust: Diverse Heritage Events Officer
Fixed-term for 3 years with possibility of extension
£25,000 pro-rata, based on a 21 hour working week.
The purpose of the role is to coordinate the Trust’s Diverse Heritage events and activities, working closely with the Director and Diverse Heritage Strategy & Development Officer. This project involves supporting and developing the Trust’s network of local heritage and community groups, amenity societies and civic trusts through events, including an annual learning event, and promotional material and resources.
Closing date: Wednesday 30 April

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