Public Realm

Public Realm

The Portas Review

At the end of 2008, the average town centre vacancy was under 6%, but at the end of 2010 it was 14.5%. If the decline continues at this rate in two years’ time almost a third of UK high streets will be standing empty.  So say studies carried out by the Deparment of Business and Innovation.

Mary Portas, star of shows such as Mary Queen of Shops and Mary Queen of Frocks has been asked by Government to advise on issues such as how to address the problem of vacant shops, prevent the proliferation of ‘clone towns’, and increase the number of small and independent retailers in local town centres.

Ms Portas is expected to finish her investigations by the end of the year and is due to report to Government on Tuesday 13 December.

Mary has received nearly 2,000 comments on her website from members of the public and high street retailers since the review began.

Findings from two HTF/EH workshops attended by a wide range of property professionals, retail practitioners and partnership organisations will also fed into the report.

High Street Review Out

According to ATCM studies, if the current highstreet decline continues almost a third of UK high streets will be standing empty in two years' time. So say studies carried out by Department of Businesses and Innovation.

Mary Portas, star of shows such as Mary Queen of Shops and Mary Queen of Frocks, has been asked to advise Government to advise on issues such as how to address the problem of vacant shops, prevent the proliferation of ‘clone towns’, and how to increase the number of small and independent retailers in local town centres.

Ms Portas is expected to finish her investigations by the end of the year and reported to Government on Tuesday 13 December.

Findings from two HTF/EH workshops attended by a wide range of property professionals, retail practitioners and partnership organisations fed into the report. 

The Portas Review was published on 13 December. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced that the Government will respond to the review in the Spring. For inclusion in the ATCM offical position please read the review and send your comments to Ojay.McDonald@atcm.org

An HTF conference on this subject will take place on 23 March. Register your interest.

DfT Shared Space report

On 20 October 2011 The Department for Transport published Local Transport Note 01/11 on Shared Space.

The research base (reviewed at the UDG National Conference on Urban Design by Stuart Reid of MVA) shows that sharing is not to do with eye-contact, but is down to a decision by the motorist whether to share; Motorists are more likely to share at slower speeds.  Their willingness to share decreases steadily up till a speed of around 17 mph after which the decline steepens.  The research also found that the appearance of a street strongly influenced drivers’ speed choice and willingness to share.

While Manual for Streets refers to carriageway width and forward visibility as being key factors in influencing speed, the research base TRL 661 found that these factors only accounted for around 20 percent of the variation in drivers’ speeds. The two pieces of research underline the importance of design quality in creating a street environment that looks like a place for people rather than a piece of trunk road infrastructure.

Economic Vision in Historic Towns - planning and regeneration York 20 October 2011

Conference overview - tweets from the day

Speakers' Presentations:

York's success as an historic town (851KB)
Prof Sir Ron Cooke
, Chair, York Civic Society

Vision into practice in historic cores of Great Places (2.23MB)
Kevin Murray
, Chairman, Academy of Urbanism

Future planning for regeneration and wider economic issues in historic towns (1.05MB)
Matthew Spry
, Director, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners

Derry's historic walled town - traffic, parking and people: towards a balance (1.15MB)
Kevin McGovern
, Principal, RPD Consulting (Derry)

Marketing an historic town's USP by foot (2.08MB)
Sue Manley
, Director, PlaceMarque

Regenerating redundant heritage buildings and making them pay (420KB)
Rosi Lister
, Director North, Churches Conservation Trust

THIs and future funding (451KB)
Charlotte Dodgeon
, Programme Manager, Heritage Lottery Fund

THI - a suitable case for regeneration (752KB)
Anna McPherson
, Partner, Drury McPerson Partnership

THI case study - Shepton Mallet (494KB)
Paul Tomlinson
, Conservation Project Officer, Mendip District Council

Regeneration of a spa town case study - Scarborough (1.18MB)
Chris Hall
, Conservation Officer, Scarborough Borough Council

Lincoln Connect case study (1.42MB)
Adam Partington
, Townscape Character Projects Manager, City of Lincoln Council

Prince's Regeneration Trust case study - Sowerby Bridge (1MB)
Fred Taggart
, Projects Director, Prince's Regeneration Trust

Heritage Blacksmithing – funded by HLF ‘Skills for the Future’

The National Heritage Ironwork Group’s (NHIG) first eight trainees, selected from applicants from all over the UK, started their Heritage Blacksmiths Bursary training programme on 23 May.  These semi-skilled blacksmiths, six men and two women, will be the first to receive one year of specialised Blacksmith Conservator training as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) ‘Skills for the Future’ programme.

It has long been recognised that our Heritage Ironwork has suffered from a lack of readily available trained and skilled practitioners in conservation practice and although there are several high quality firms specialising in restoration ironwork, the size of our ironwork heritage is so vast it means that inappropriate and damaging processes and treatments are being applied countrywide to often unique and irreplaceable artefacts almost on a daily basis.

The NHIG Heritage Blacksmith Bursary has been put in place to address this need by providing the beginnings of a skilled and experienced cohort of practitioners able not only to work on sensitive ironwork artefacts but also to work effectively with fellow professionals in the field.  It is an advanced training programme that broadens the skills and experience of blacksmiths involved in historic ironwork repairs by bringing together the best of blacksmithing craft practise and the philosophy and ethics of conservation.

44 year old bursary student Alexander Coode said: ‘I am passionate about the heritage of ironwork and feel that the protection of antique ironwork is of vital importance for the conservation of heritage sites and am keen to play whatever role is possible in support of this aim.  I believe that the completion of the Heritage Blacksmith course would be an invaluable asset in establishing the necessary benchmarks to be followed in undertaking any future restoration project.’

The course is a one year full time commitment catering for eight students per year, with a total number of sixteen, over the two year programme.  It provides real and relevant training made up of a series of practical skill-based and conservation-based work placements.  The first placement is at Hampton Court Palace where students will gain practical experience of ironwork conservation and holding repair works under the supervision of a specialist conservator.  In July they will learn pure conservation in a museum environment, at Hereford Museum, The Royal Armouries and Birmingham Museum where amongst other things they will have the chance to work on the Staffordshire Hoard of medieval goldsmiths’ work.  Thereafter the students will visit a number of established blacksmiths’ workshops for periods of on-the-job training.

The bursary programme has been enhanced by the inclusion of a five week block release course in the conservation of ironwork at Hereford College of Technology (HCT) – the leading British training establishment for forgework skills.  The HCT syllabus has been specially developed to complement the work-based learning in order that the student receives an holistic education programme with essential underpinning knowledge.  Trainees will attend HCT for one week at a time between workshop placement swaps.

The bursary will culminate in the achievement of the NHIG Award for Blacksmithing Conservation.  This is a competency work-based award covering specialist units in forgework conservation, which formally offers students the opportunity to demonstrate the skills gained during the course.  The award standards are derived from Construction Skills National Occupation Standards for Heritage skills level 3 blacksmithing option route with an assessment process that reflects the accepted NVQ Level 3 model.  This is aimed at ensuring long lasting value and recognition of the qualification gained and the possibility of linkage to any future courses that are developed from this programme after it has ended.

The college part of this programme is seen as the first step in the process of developing and building a permanent heritage blacksmithing training route.  Although current funding will run out after two years the project is intended to be the pump priming for an ongoing requirement for training and qualification in the sector.  This is seen as a requirement at present in other built heritage craft sectors when engaging individuals/companies and the field of heritage ironwork deserves no less.  NHIG are not alone in this view and are proud to announce that having reviewed our training plan English Heritage have endorsed this programme.

Bill Martin, Conservation Director for English Heritage said: ‘The field of architectural metals conservation has for too long awaited a framework to successfully bind together the essential skills of the metals conservator and the conservation blacksmith; the aims of the National Heritage Ironwork Group will go a long way to deliver this.  English Heritage fully support these aims and we intend to contribute in every way that we can to ensure their successful development.'

For more information on the bursary aims and objectives as well as how it has been set up and is being run you can download the ‘Heritage Blacksmiths Bursary Programme Overview’ from the bursaries page of the NHIG website.

Practical Guide to National Infrastructure Projects

Submitted by admin on Fri, 21/01/2011 - 11:19
Date published
Wed, 01/07/2009 - 00:00
TitlePractical Guide to National Infrastructure Projects
AuthorBircham Dyson Bell
PublisherButterworths
ISBN9781405747226 
Product CodePLNIR
Price£130.00 + p&p
Special HTF Members offer £104.00 (20% discount) + p&p (Members' Special offer code)
To orderTo receive the 20% discount please phone LexisNexis customer services on +44 (0) 845 370 123444 quoting the Members' Special offer code

Non-members can order online

 

Manual for Historic Streets

Submitted by admin on Thu, 20/01/2011 - 17:24
Date published
Tue, 01/04/2008 - 00:00

Manual for Historic Streets

Report 61

This document brings together a collection of articles by experts in both the theory and practice of good streetscape management. National policies and guidelines, the purpose and economic benefits of the public realm, and the risk debate are explored in Part 1.
Part 2 looks at achieving high quality in the various elements which make up the streets - from paving and street furniture to lighting and public art.

The document concludes with Key Principles and an extensive reference list.

Format: Due to high demand this document is now only available to purchase as a pdf on CD.

Price: £12.00 (25% discount available to HTF Members)

Postage and packing: £1.00

 

Members can purchase this publication for £9.00 here or download it for free*
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Building Confidence in High Quality Design

Submitted by admin on Thu, 20/01/2011 - 15:51
Date published
Sun, 01/08/2004 - 00:00

Building Confidence in High Quality Design CD Rom
Report 55
 

This CD is intended to help people involved in the planning process to achieve better outcomes in terms of architecture and uban design. It summarises and draws lessons from a series of seminars held in the north west of England during spring 2004.

The conclusions we drew from the series provide practical ways to avoid mistakes. Among others they stress:

  • Looking at the broad economic, social and physical context when planning a project
  • Using a formal design or planning brief for important sites, including an inventory of what is of townscape or architectural value
  • Setting a standard for design quality and sticking to it, both for buildings and for urban design
  • Allowing time for design, not rushing into things
  • Undertaking thorough pre-application discussions between applicants and local planning authorities
  • Appraising planning applications rigorously, using check-lists such as those in Building in Context and By Design
  • Refusing applications that don't come up to scratch from an architectural or design point of view.

Format: CD

Price: £7.00 - (25% discount available for HTF Members)

Postage and packing: £1.00

Members can purchase this publication for £5.25 here*
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Focus on the Public Realm

Submitted by admin on Thu, 20/01/2011 - 15:45
Date published
Wed, 01/10/2003 - 00:00
Focus on the Public Realm

Report 52

The spaces between buildings - the Public Realm - have come under increasing scrutiny recently. The important contribution to economic development, regeneration, tourism and other aspects of the overall vitality of our towns and cities cannot be under-estimated.

The Forum has expressed concern about the quality of the public realm since it was formed in 1987 and a number of publications have addressed various aspects of it. At the 2002 Annual Conference we pledged to make it the main focus of our work in 2003, and this has been the theme running through the events and publications since then.

This publication identifies the issues surrounding management of the public realm in our historic towns and cities, looking at the problems and highlighting examples of good practice. It is clear that acheiving both quality and local distinctiveness in the historic built environment is vital to the success of historic towns, and the spaces between the buildings are of equal importance. The Forum believes that there is a need for greater co-ordination of the management of our public spaces and that the time has come for all stakeholders to work in partnership to ensure quality and local distinctiveness.

Format: Hard copy

Price: £6.00 - (25% discount available for HTF Members)

Postage and packing: £1.00

Members can purchase this publication for £4.50 here or download it for free*
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Purple Flag Awards recognise excellence in place management

Purple Flag is an award scheme offered by the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM), which recognises excellence in place management in town & city centres at night, setting standards going forward for managing successful evening economies and benchmarking performance.

The initiative aims to improve perceptions of places, address imbalances in activities, retail offer and entertainment, tackle anti-social behaviour, and encourage a diverse evening offer; providing significant recognition for councils and partnerships who deliver key services associated with the night-time economy.

ATCM CEO Martin Blackwell comments, "Our towns and cities must adapt. Retailing is important but not the whole story. Those centres that thrive in the future will be those that have a more balanced economy and utilise their assets 24/7.

Purple Flag really is an exciting initiative. This programme offers the opportunity for national recognition of excellent strategies and best practice across these areas for a variety of places. The scheme will help drive up standards and replace negative perceptions with positive visions by rewarding well-managed evening and night time economies."

Developed by a team of industry experts since 2003, Purple Flag is rigorous accreditation process that helps to tackle many prominent issues associated with night time economy management and is supported by the Home Office, Association of Chief Police Officers, Local Government Regulation (LACORS), NOCTIS, Diageo, and many other high profile national bodies. The scheme focuses on four key themes encompassed by a policy envelope: wellbeing, appeal, place, and movement providing a solid framework for assessment.

The scheme’s increasing popularity has led to a record number of applications for the latest round following the success of the initial rounds in 2009, which saw the likes of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bath, Kingston, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden gain full accreditation.

The latest round (June 2010) generated interest from a range of places, including smaller towns, with High Wycombe and Halifax being awarded Purple Flag Status. It proves that if a centre offers a clean & safe environment, diverse activities & retail offer, excellent transport links, and a great nightlife then the Purple Flag award applies regardless of size/population - it is all in the context! 

Halifax's Deputy Mayor Keith Watson said: "This award is great news for Halifax. It means our town has national recognition as a place that's safe and welcoming to everyone with a good mix of venues and attractions. We will continue to work hard to make sure Halifax keeps this status and continues to offer a safe and enjoyable experience to visitors of all ages, including families."

Round 3 (October 2010 - January 2011) of Purple Flag aplications is now open. Please visit www.purpleflag.org.uk or contact Daniel McGrath daniel.mcgrath@atcm.org to register your interest and discuss your future involvement.

Daniel McGrath
ATCM Project Manager
November 2010