People make buildings, and the builtenvironment shapes peoples lives
Welcome to Big Local webinar: ‘People make buildings, and the built environment shapes peoples lives’ heritage explained
Introduction We will cover the following issues: • What is Heritage? • Examples of Heritage • Why Heritage is an important Community Asset • Planning your Project • Steps to avoid failure • Asset Transfers • Increasing Community Involvement • Case Study • Further Reading • Resources
What is Heritage? • Heritage is an integral part of the historic environment but it can be hard to define as it is never one element, but a meshing together of several. • Character, identity and cultural variety are built up in layers of detail over time and it is the mixture of these layers that helps to make up the heritage of an area. • Heritage is all the things that have shaped you and your community. Not just the grand old buildings but wharfs, the view, ordinary housing and most important, the people - the ones there now, as much as those who were there before. • Your cultural heritage includes local songs and stories, paths and parks, means of travel, occupations, recreations, everything that makes your community special .
Examples of heritage: • Archaeological heritage Locally important visible features, such as hill forts, burial mounds, moats, field systems, ridge and furrow, and ancient village sites. • Built heritage Locally distinctive built heritage elements and small features, such as field barns, pumps, wells, gates and walls, bridges, railings, milestones, architectural details, cobbles, memorials, village greens or traditional signs. • Customs and traditions Historic and cultural associations with the land and activities of local people. Heritage features relating to how people lived, worked and played, such as place names, field names, parish boundaries, open spaces, viewpoints, rights of way of significant heritage value, including country lanes and drove roads. • Industrial heritage Physical features related to locally important industries, such as chimneys, lime kilns, packhorse trails, wagon-ways, canals, quarries, mineral pits, spoil heaps, mills, mines, smithies and coopers.
Why heritage is an importantcommunity asset (1)• A heritage project is a great way to involve your community in fun activities and inspire learning. Its also an opportunity for volunteers to develop new skills as well as to share their experience and knowledge. • The historic environment is a proven source of benefit to local economies, particularly through tourism.• An attractive heritage environment assists in attracting external investment as well as maintaining existing businesses of all types, not just tourism-related.• People are very proud of their local history, but don’t always express how much they value a place until it’s threatened.• Because it adds character and distinctiveness to an area, heritage is a fundamental in creating a ‘sense of place’ for a community.• Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings is an important factor in creating sustainable communities.• Heritage places can be a potent driver for community action.
Why heritage is an importantcommunity asset (2) • Heritage buildings add value to regeneration projects, both in terms the economic and environmental advantage of reuse over new build and in adding character to a precinct. • Increased community values and greater social inclusion can be achieved through a focus on heritage matters. • The heritage places are an excellent local educational resource for people of all ages. Learning about the history of a place is a good way of bringing communities together through a shared understanding of the unique cultural identity heritage places give to an area. • Areas where the heritage is understood and valued tend to be better looked after than those where heritage items have no link with the community. Such links help to foster civic responsibility and citizenship and contribute to everyone’s quality of life.
Planning your project Before you start your project, you will be need to think about what you want to achieve and whoyour project is for. •You may already have offers of help from members of the community but what about other people or organisations with whom you could work?•Working in partnership with other groups and organisations is likely to bring you more success. Socreating the right partnership with a strong shared vision, a clear set of objectives and realisticexpectations is essential.•What ever the scale of project, ensure that the project team has access to expert professional adviceon heritage and regeneration issues from the start.•To reduce risk, seek to establish an appropriate planning policy framework for the project - reflectingboth regeneration and heritage objectives.•Work out how much your project is likely to cost, how much grant you need.
Steps to success:“A few simple steps can avoid the failure of development projects in the historic environment” - says HeritageWorks, a publication written by English Heritage, the British Property Federation, the Royal Institution ofChartered Surveyors and Drivers Jonas. Below are some key points highlighted by the report:• Understand the heritage assets in question Early consultation with English Heritage and the local planning authority is crucial for all parties to gain a fullunderstanding of the conservation value of the asset, the project, its costs and the opportunities. Consultationprovides certainty for developers by avoiding surprise problems later in the process and helping all parties to reachearly agreement. • Find a viable economic use This must support the initial refurbishment, provide the owner or developer with a reasonable return on theirinvestment and also generate enough income for the long-term maintenance of the building. • Pay the right price for the asset Purchasers and owners should make sure they pay a price that reflects full knowledge of the conservationconstraints and realistic repair costs. It is vital at this stage to work with and get the advice of experiencedspecialists.http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/advice/advice-by-topic/urban-and-rural-regeneration/heritage-works/
Asset transferThe transfer of property assets from local authority to a community organisation can be a complicated businesswith all sort of legal, financial and regulatory issues. To guide you through the land mine of assets transfer, English Heritage and a number of other organisations inthe heritage sector have joined forces to produce a guide explaining asset transfer, management of public assetsand conservation of the historic environment. Key things to think about:• Have unforeseen costs or unexpected price rises been planned for?• Is sufficient business expertise available, in-house, on the management board or from external advisers?• Have running costs been estimated for the next five to ten years?• Will the project continue to attract community support once the initial Guide Pillars of the Community: The transfer of local authority heritage Assets – Full guidance January 2011http://www.communityplanning.net/pub-film/pdf/PillarsOfTheCommunity.pdf
Increasing community involvement Research from Civic Voice - What would get existing volunteers more involved in their group?
Increasing community Involvement (2) To increase community involvement in heritage issues local groups should be offering: • Opportunities which are local and immediate • Flexible in terms of amount of commitment required and when it is required • Personal incentives. ‘Making a difference’ is often a secondary reason for people getting involved, people get involved because they want to have fun, meet people or get out the house. • Most importantly people need to be invited to get involved, and preferably by someone they know. Civic Voice and the Heritage Alliance have produced a checklist which local heritage and community organisations can use to strengthen links to the wider community: http://hc.english-heritage.org.uk/content/pub/2011/health-check-local-groups.pdf
Case study Ravensthorpe Community Heritage Project The Ravensthorpe Community Heritage Project aims to promote a sense of pride and ownership amongst the residents of Ravensthorpe. The project is supporting local communities by bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to explore the history of their community. There are lots of practical, creative and hands-on activities linked to the history of the neighbourhood. People are gaining a stronger sense of belonging to their local community by taking part. http://www.communitykirklees.org.uk/learning/ravensthorpe-community-heritage-project/
Further reading Heritage Counts 2011 http://hc.english-heritage.org.uk/ Heritage Works: The Use of Historic Buildings in Regeneration http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/heritage-works/ Knowing your Place: Heritage and Community-Led Planning in the Countryside http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/knowing-your-place/knowing-your-place12.pdf Guide Pillars of the Community: The transfer of local authority heritage Assets, January 2011 http://www.communityplanning.net/pub-film/pdf/PillarsOfTheCommunity.pdf Community-led Spaces a Guide for Local Authorities and Community Groups http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/CABE/Resources/CABE-publications/Community-led-spaces/ Historic Environment Forum: Health Check for Local Groups http://hc.english-heritage.org.uk/content/pub/2011/health-check-local-groups.pdf Spaces for Everyone: the Big Local Guide to Environment http://www.localtrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BL-Spaces-for-Everyone-v1-25A.pdf Social Impact of Heritage-led Regeneration http://www.ahfund.org.uk/docs/Report%20Social%20Impacts%20of%20Heritage-led%20Regeneration.pdf
Resources Archival research techniques and skills - General advice on planning your research and using archives http://arts-scheme.co.uk/ Community Archives and Heritage GroupThe Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) aims to monitor and inform developments in the field of Community Archives, and to act as an expert body on best practice in this area. http://www.communityarchives.org.uk Archives 4 AllThe Archives 4 All website features collections from archives and community groups around England. Archives 4. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/projects.htm/a4a/ University of East Anglia’s Research in Community Heritage Ideas Bank Project is about bringing academics and local communities together to support one another in finding out more about community heritage. http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/uea-research-community-heritage-ideas-bank-starting-your-idea Community Archives and Heritage GroupThe Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) aims to monitor and inform developments in the field of Community Archives, and to act as an expert body on best practice in this area. http://www.communityarchives.org.uk
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