BEFS Bulletin – NPF4 Debate, Digital Training Resources

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


Yesterday (19 April) saw a debate on the National Planning Framework 4 in the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee. Many contributions focused on the need for further clarity in both priorities and language. The transcript can be accessed here, or watch the recording.

The Scottish Government has published a joint report alongside COSLA in response to last year’s review of the Town Centre Action Plan.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has announced the two candidates in the running to take over from current President, Christina Gaiger.

Applications are invited by the RIAS to the Charles McKean Memorial Prize, open to all students of Architecture, Architectural Conservation and Architectural History in Scotland. The winning entry will receive a £1,000 prize. Deadline for submissions is 15 September.

The UK Government has announced that it is preparing a new Tentative List of natural, cultural and mixed sites for potential nomination for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The closing date for submitting expressions of interest is 6 May, with applications due by 15 July.

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) is marking a quarter of a century since its incorporation as a professional body in 2022-2023. They have launched a digital hub webpage, #IHBC25.

Booking is open for the IHBC Annual School, which takes place on 17 June in Aberdeen, with tours the previous and following days. In-person and virtual content explores how practitioners can and should manage conservation and heritage that is, in different ways, ‘on the edge’, facing challenges that may be geographical, social, or cultural.

Heritage Digital Academy run free training courses to help UK heritage organisations develop new digital practices and build key skills. Their upcoming course Designing Digital Services is open for applications until 26 April with the course beginning on 6 May. Learn more about the resources on offer, their upcoming courses, and webinars on their website.

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Consultation Responses

Draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) Consultation – Royal Society of Edinburgh response

RTPI Scotland’s response to the National Outcomes Inquiry (19/04/22)


Great Place Scheme (England & Nations) – final evaluation reports (National Lottery Heritage Fund, April 2022)
NLHF compare and contrast the findings of their two £22m place-based schemes and look at the lessons learned.

Scottish Futures Trust – Business Plan 2022/2023 (11/04/22)
The SFT said it is focused on working with its many key partners from the infrastructure and construction industries to improve the economic, social and environmental outcomes from Scotland’s infrastructure.

Archaeology Scotland Annual Report 2020-2021 (19/04/22)

Mapping Cultural Dispersal: Edinburgh Festivals (The Culture and Communities Mapping Project, February 2022)
In spring and summer 2021 the Culture and Communities Mapping Project conducted research on the role of festivals in Edinburgh communities outside the city centre.

The Object of Conservation: An Ethnography of Heritage Practice by Siân Jones, Thomas Yarrow (Routledge, 14/04/22)

Tyninghame: Landscapes and Lives by Judy Riley (Birlinn, out 5 May)
Tyninghame on the East Lothian coast was once an important monastic site, the burial place of St Baldred and later a bishop’s palace that eventually became the seat of the earls of Haddington.

Scottish Government Publications

Town centre action plan review: joint Scottish Government and COSLA response(13/04/22)
Joint response from SG and COSLA to the New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres report.

National Partnership for Culture: Workshop 1 – culture and wellbeing workshop report

National Partnership for Culture: Workshop 2 – culture and fair work workshop report

National Partnership for Culture: Workshop 3 – culture and education workshop report

National Partnership for Culture: Workshop 4 – measuring change workshop report

UK Government Releases

Communities across UK handed control of £2.6 billion levelling up funding (13/04/22)
Local areas across England will see £1.58 billion, Scotland £212 million, Wales £585 million and Northern Ireland £127 million made available under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Welsh Government Publications

How can communities save buildings they care about? (Senedd Research, 11/04/22)
Listing systems are focused on the fabric of the buildings or historic interest, and not the value they have to the local community.

News Releases

Inspections start across Scottish heritage sites (Historic Environment Scotland, 11/04/22)
HES has begun an inspection programme to assess the condition of heritage sites around the country following concerns about decaying masonry.

Sector leaders unite on major piece of research (The Landscape Institute, 13/04/22)
The Landscape Skills and Workforce Survey will provide new insights into the economic structures and makeup of the landscape industry.

Pictish stone discovered in Scots field prompts fundraising campaign for conservation (14/04/22)
The stone was unearthed by archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen, in a field near Aberlemno in Angus in February.

Glasgow museums to return 49 looted objects (The Art Newspaper, 14/04/22)
Stolen artefacts will be given back to Nigeria, India, and a Native American tribe in the biggest restitution in Scottish history.

Stow Station House restoration hailed by rail chiefs (The Herald, 15/04/22)
A community trust restoration and refurbishment project that breathed fresh life into a Borders railway station building has won a double accolade.

Iraq’s ancient buildings are being destroyed by climate change (The Guardian, 15/04/22)
Water shortages leading to rising salt concentrations and sandstorms are eroding the ancient sites.

Regeneration: The NI villages bringing new life to old buildings (BBC, 19/04/22)
The Village Catalyst pilot aims to restore historic buildings at risk to the rural community hubs they once were, while tackling rural poverty and social isolation.

Opinion & Comment

Caroline Bressey: Black Victorians and Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Glasgow (GCHT, 31/03/22)
In a new Gallus Glasgow blog, Dr Caroline Bressey charts how black performers were attracted to the city by plays such as ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, and ponders whether any of them settled here.

Russell Blackstock: Going, going, cone: Is it the end of the road for motorways like the M8? (Sunday Post, 3/04/22)
Some experts say that the bridge and its surrounds, which opened in June 1970 and carries up to 90,000 vehicles a day, is no longer fit for purpose for a modern city.

Vikki Jones: Future of culture in Edinburgh (Arts Professional, 12/04/22)
Recent research urged Edinburgh’s cultural sector to adopt a values-led approach to addressing inequities and precarities. Vikki Jones assesses the implications of the findings for the city.

Karen Anderson FRSE: Wellbeing and the built environment (Scottish Construction Now, 14/04/22)
The built environment impacts hugely on the quality of our lives – and by extension on our health and wellbeing.

The Guardian view on the future of buildings: make do and mend (Editorial, 17/04/22)
The decision by London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, to allow the demolition of a flagship Marks & Spencer store on London’s Oxford Street has caused controversy.

Gabriella Bennett: Church conversions simply fail to inspire (The Sunday Times, 17/04/22)
What is the future for Scotland’s church buildings?

Mike Harrison: Put people first to revive our city centres (The Herald, 18/04/22)
The reason why our high streets are failing is because they no longer seem relevant.

Rob Davies: Where Britain’s journey to insulation went wrong (The Guardian, 19/04/22)
There has been a long-term decline in UK home energy efficiency installations.

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”.

S6W-08088: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/04/2022
To ask the Scottish Government how the effectiveness of the Third National Planning Framework (NPF3) was monitored and evaluated and whether this was done against the outcomes set out in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

S6W-07951: Paul Sweeney, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date lodged: 8 April 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will introduce a formal requirement in planning (a) policy and (b) guidance that all applications for listed building consent to a planning authority should include supporting evidence from (i) an accredited specialist conservation architect or conservation architect registered on the Royal Institute of British Architects Conservation Register, and (ii) structural and/or civil engineers registered on the Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers, administered by the Institution of Civil Engineers.

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-07770: Alexander Burnett, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date lodged: 1 April 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will confirm how many Historic Environment Scotland properties are currently (a) open to the public at full-capacity, (b) partly open and (c) closed.
Answered by Neil Gray on 12 April 2022

S6W-07503: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date lodged: 22 March 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has reported to it any long-term plan for remedial works to Kisimul Castle, and what its position is on whether any agreements undertaken on this subject are being honoured by HES.
Answered by Neil Gray on 12 April 2022


Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Debate: National Planning Framework 4 (19/04/22) Transcript, Recording


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

Town Centre Action Plan 2 Series: #6 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.

Mill Architects and Perth & Kinross Council: Tenement Repair and Maintenance Event
Date & Time: 28 April: 15:00 – 18:00
A K Bell Library, 2 – 8 York Place, Perth
Arranging repairs to a shared building can be a challenge. This Tenement Repair Event will help and assist any property owners looking to repair or maintain their jointly owned tenement. Hosted by MILL Architects in conjunction with Perth & Kinross Council, join us as we present and discuss the practicalities, issues, and available funding, concerning tenement repair and maintenance.

RIAS Bookshop: An evening with Fiona McLachlan
Date & Time: 4 May, 18:00 – 20:00
Location: 15 Rutland Square, EH1 2BE
Free, booking required.
Join us at the RIAS Bookshop for a wonderful evening with RIAS President Christina Gaiger talking to architect and professor Fiona McLachlan about her book ‘Colour Strategies in Architecture’, which explores the potential of colour to modify space and the way in which buildings are perceived.

SURF Award Shared Learning Event: Best Practice Examples of Housing Led Regeneration
Date & Time: 5 May, 10:00 – 12:30
Location: The Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh
This free half-day SURF Awards workshop event provides an opportunity to explore successful approaches to housing led regeneration initiatives providing wider community outcomes. The winning and highly commended projects from the ‘Housing and Regeneration’ category highlighted in the 2021 SURF Awards process will provide comment on their experiences and transferable learning. Guests will also hear from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and Urban Union.

SPAB Scotland & PKHT: Scottish Mills Weekend
Date & Time: 7 – 8 May 2022
Location: Lower City Mills, Perth
SPAB Scotland and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust are thrilled to invite you to the first ever celebration of mills and milling in Scotland, to be held in Lower City Mills, Perth and with visits to mills in Perthshire. Topics covered will include looking after mills as a community trust, heritage grains & breadmaking, micro hydro-power, the Scottish textile industry, looking after mill machinery, and a short history of Perth Lower City Mills. There will also be visits to sites not normally open to the public.

SLE Annual Conference: Homes At The Heart of Rural Communities
Date & Time: 17 May, 09:00 – 17:30
Sheraton Grand Hotel, Edinburgh
Members: £80+VAT; Non-Members: £160+VAT
Sarah-Jane Laing, SLE Chief Executive, Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government and Dr Moses Jenkins, Senior Technical Officer, Historic Environment Scotland are keynote speakers, and sessions include a panel session “The Climate Change Challenge in Delivering Housing” and afternoon debate “How do we build more rural homes?”


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.

Archaeology Scotland’s Field School – Investigating Cathkin Park 
Date & Time: 15 June – 26 June
Join Archaeology Scotland this summer to excavate one of Scotland’s most iconic sporting sites – Cathkin Park. You will be part of a team of archaeologists and will gain experience in a range of archaeology techniques and skills including community archaeology, excavation, creative interpretation, and digital recording.


Measures and Indicators to Support the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s work on Place
Value of contract: £20,000
This piece of work is a scoping exercise to develop NLHF’s strategic approach to placed based work. The outputs of this project are designed to inform decisions by the Executive and Board about the Heritage Fund’s future role in supporting placemaking work and the strategies for investments that help improve local places.
Closing date: Friday 22 April

Glasgow City Heritage Trust: Heritage Manager (Maternity Cover)
3 days/week starting June 2022
£30,000 pro rata (£18,000)
GCHT seek a part-time Heritage Manager (Maternity Cover) to join our team in the administration, and management of their Grants Programme in Glasgow aimed at historic building repairs, project development and heritage outreach and education work. The 2022/23 Historic Environment Grants budget is just under £620,000. The role will take overall responsibility for the delivery of the new grants process, and management of a small team of Heritage Officers.
Closing date: Monday 25 April

HES: Senior Heritage Policy Officer
37 hours / week, Edinburgh and the Lothians
Salary: £34,303 – £39,873
The Senior Heritage Policy Officer will be responsible for managing and coordinating Historic Environment Scotland’s programme of policy, guidance about how best to look after Scotland’s historic environment. The role will support the directorate’s cross-HES working and work with external stakeholders, as well as help support the development of HES’s high-quality external training programme.
Closing date: Wednesday 27 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.

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