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- Civic Trust Awards

- Creating sustainable
- Griff Rhys Jones
Fundraising Appeal
- News & Connections

The Civic Trust Membership Magazine. Winter - Spring 2009 £4
Message from the President
I HAVE just got town and not amongst centre and the place down the window of Recently there has
back from Quito in the splendid palaces deteriorates, even if his car and, pointed been quite a fight
Equador, where I of the old. (New is the major buildings to a high-rise bridged back. As the donut
had to spend a little a misnomer. The don’t. flyover walkway thing. dream of the suburb
more time than I had new town is almost There is money “Why don’t you take crumbles and a new
intended, mostly indistinguishable from available to restore the route we built for generation find the
in Embassies and any other part of the Quito. Everywhere you?” he shouted. transport systems
interesting police built up noisy grid that you look the facades The answer was less entrancing than
offices because stretches around the have been renewed. because it looked they were promised,
my passport went place.) What are also needed dark, frightening and so they have sought
up in flames in the Jose warned us in are patience and wet and would take flats in the centre
Galapagos. What fact not to walk out confidence and those much longer than of town. In Leeds
a fascinating city into the old town at are less easy to come scrambling over and Manchester
though. It was night. Surprisingly, by. We didn’t have the highway. (Like people have come
the earliest point in amongst the it in Britain. A huge everybody else from back to live in the
of contact for the golden churches number of our city the scuff marks). centre. In London
conquistadors and of the Compagnia centres were seen What governments and Edinburgh, of
though not much and the staggering as inconvenient and often want, or wanted, course they never left
of the original Inca monastery of the old fashioned and was to clear human it because it was built
town survives, the Franciscans, built as decrepit. We lost our beings out of their and stayed beautiful.
Spanish Colonial city a long white-walled faith in restoration shopping centres Perhaps in Quito
was built on its ruins redoubt around the and preferred, in and to put their faith they will eventually
and is so complete exquisite courtyard places like Glasgow is the “vibrancy” of do the same too,
and unspoilt that it gardens, the old or Birmingham or commercial interests. especially if the place
has Unesco status. town is still where Sheffield, to start To serve these is kept lovely for
The rest of modern the poorest people again or radically forces we faced the them. In too many of
Quito spreads down a live. This is familiar. redraw. Of course miserable prospect our cities it has not.
valley and up towards Quito is reliving the we suffered from of road engineers in Gavin Stamp’s book
the volcano, jammed story of Palermo or the Luftwaffe but not Newcastle waiting called (if I remember
with traffic and Rome, or any of the half as much as we eagerly for their it correctly) “Vanished
steadily crumbling in great cities of Britain suffered from zoning, Georgian buildings Cities” gives a vivid
the damp cool climate fifty years ago. As traffic schemes and to fall into dereliction flavour of what we
that comes from the old buildings lose bright new futures. so that they could put lost: not Spanish
being nine thousand their lustre and new When on tour, I up new car parks. Colonial, perhaps, but
feet up in the Andes. suburbs spring up, so once got a lift back For the last fifty often British Imperial.
But I was interested the rich abandon the to my hotel with years, and with a The recession is
that my new friend inconvenience of the an ex member of lot of hand wringing already having a
Jose lived in the new polluted, crumbling Bradford council. As and crocodile tears, huge effect on retail
we jumped out of commercial interests centres. Rows of
the car and started have hi-jacked our shopping malls are
Inside to clamber over the
crash barriers to
town centres. They
wanted bigger and
beginning to stand
empty. Unlike old
Local & national news 4–7 cross to the motorway bigger shops and fashioned market
Beneath Regency splendour 8 – 9 that now runs through have reordered our towns, unlike lovely
Sustainable living: the middle of this towns and cities to Quito, they cannot
Rough guide to going green 10 – 11 historic city, he wound accommodate them. easily be turned
Sustainable Communities 12 back into housing. I
What could the Sustainable Communities wonder if we will live
Act do for you? 22 – 23 to regret having made
Civic Societies Week 13 our inner cities into
A week in the life of Corsham 14 potential deserts, not
Tools & links 15 just after five thirty pm
Conference report: Exploring heritage-led but for the rest of the
regeneration 16 – 17 day as well?
Fundraising briefing 18 – 19 Griff Rhys Jones
Civic Society insurance 23

Message from the Chairman
AT THE end of 2008 cities to bequeath a better forge stronger relationships
– global crisis year – one future for our children, how between local government
Christmas story resonated do we justify our existence? and the communities they
with me. Reindeers – Father And global warming is the serve.
Christmas’ faithful engines most crucial determinant of The Civic Trust Board,
– can no longer reach their our future quality of life. together with its interim
Arctic foraging grounds So, yes, as a national Managing Director, Greg
because of loss of habitat organisation we should Andrews, is conscious of
caused by global warming be involved in the debate the need to form a better whose idea this was.
and human activity. So the as to solutions and the bridge between, on the one There are 250,000 Civic
Norwegian government allocation of resources. As hand, the Civic Societies, Society members out there.
has taken to hauling them a regional organisation, we and the other, the Trust’s Although times are hard for
there by boat, 600 at a time. should be pressing locally successful programmes. us all, I remain convinced
The grimness of this image for action – be it sustainable The aim is to improve that if we can link up with
chimes with reports of transport, renewable energy the cohesiveness of the each other better - and
drowning polar bears, loss generation or energy saving organisation and to give raise the funds to allow the
of livelihood for the Inuit measures. At local level local people a stronger role movement to stand on its
peoples and the impending we should be helping our in positive measures for the own two feet – the future for
vast escape of carbon members make individually improvement of our movement is rosy.
accompanying the thawing responsible decisions their communities. Happy New Year!
of permafrost. and equipping them with A great recent example Philip Kolvin
What has that to do with the campaigning tools to is Purple Flag – the Civic
Civic Societies? Faced influence public and private Trust’s new programme
with global issues, inaction sector organisations to play for making the night
is a tempting response their part, be they schools, time economy a safer,
– after all surely it is for council offices or shops. more accessible, more
governments to sort this There is no issue so big that entertaining and diverse
stuff out? If that were so, it is beyond the ability of environment. This has
there would be no need for individuals to seek to make received a huge amount of
a civic movement at all. a difference. enthusiasm among national • Grass Roots is your
I believe that a national The Government is and local government and quarterly update
movement can and should increasingly showing signs the national press, and magazine. We hope you
play its part in influencing of wanting to empower local will launch later this year. enjoy it. Please share
governments, while shaping activists and organisations We hope that local Civic your copy as widely
its own environment and – this is a core theme for Society members will wish as you can as a way of
equipping its members to Communities and Local to play a full role in local telling members and
play their own individual Government – and the Civic implementation of this the public more about
roles. If we are not helping Society movement should programme. what we all do. You can
preserve our towns and be ideally placed to help Since the night time send your feedback,
economy is such an updates, case studies,
important facet of our local articles, events and
environments I was pleased reviews to Ian Harvey at
to deliver a lecture in Leeds
as to how Civic Societies uk. You can also contact
could become more Griff Rhys Jones or
involved in the licensing Philip Kolvin by emailing
process. The lecture can Ian, marking your email
• Cover: The Rotunda, one of the now be seen online at www. for Griff or Philip.
nominees for the Civic Trust Awards, see It • Grass Roots printed
pages 4 – 5. is an example of how we by Headley Bros Ltd on
Plus: Griff Rhys Jones (p18), a visitor to can, and should, use new recycled & sustainable-
Brighton (p8) & Angela Brady (p10) technology to communicate mix paper with non-
Left: historic Quito at night. Photo from with each other more toxic inks.
Flickr/Dimplemonkey effectively, and I pay tribute • Layout & pre-press
Photos: Tony to our Civic Societies by Clare-Marie White &
Bartholomew, Nick Tyson, Paul Cornwell Manager, Ian Harvey, Civic Trust staff.

Find updates and links at 3

Including Everyone – The Civic Trust
Inclusive Design Award
As a recognition of quality and merit, much broader approach than simply “good design is inclusive design, and
the Civic Trust Awards offer a unique designing to meet the needs of design that is not inclusive is not good
opportunity to identify the positive disabled people or in providing a place enough”.
contributions made by designers that only meets minimum legislative In deciding this Special Award, the
towards the spaces and environments requirements such as those set out in Trust is also looking for applications
they have created and to the life the Building Regulations. Therefore, in that have clearly demonstrated how
experiences of the communities that setting the standard for the Inclusive important issues such as consultation
will use them. Design Award, the Civic Trust has and user involvement have informed
To receive an Award, a project adopted the Principles of Inclusive and influenced the design process,
must be able to demonstrate that Design set out by the Commission for and can show evidence of where it
it is outstanding in its field, and Architecture and the Built Environment has enhanced the final outcome.
that key issues such as inclusive (CABE). In 2008, several projects were able
design, sustainability and community In essence, CABE’s Principles to identify how design had been used
involvement have been appropriately highlight the need for a design to to address inclusion. However, the
considered and addressed. accommodate the needs of all the winner of the Inclusive Design Award,
In addition to receiving a general people who will use it and for it not The Roundhouse, demonstrated
Award, successful projects may also to impose barriers that might prevent much more clearly how addressing
be considered for a series of Special them enjoying and participating inclusion was integral to the overall
Awards to acknowledge and recognise equally, confidently, safely and success of the project, and how that
excellence within a particular area. independently in the everyday was achieved in the very difficult area
One such area is that of Inclusive activities that take place there. of refurbishment to an existing public
Design. The view set by CABE and access building.
Designing inclusively requires a supported by the Civic Trust is that Professor Keith Bright

Sponsor profile: Bristan current range

has been
Bristan is the largest supplier of bathroom taps, endorsed by
showers, shower enclosures, decorative heating and the Bathroom Manufacturers Association under its
bathroom accessories in the UK and is the number Water Efficient Labelling Scheme.
one supplier of choice among consumers, plumbers, Judith Gibbons, Head of Marketing at Bristan,
retailers and specifiers alike. explains more about why the company is sponsoring
The company has over 100 products within its the Inclusive Design Award.
inclusive design portfolio and, with the help of a team “At Bristan, we believe that everybody deserves
of dedicated designers and a specialist occupational good design irrespective of age or ability; no one
therapy advisor, is investing heavily in extending the should feel alienated by the design of the buildings,
range and launching a host of exciting new products in public spaces or products that they use. This is why
2009. we continue to invest in bringing bathroom products to
As well as sponsoring the Civic Trust Awards, market that are well designed, aesthetically appealing
Bristan is involved in a number of community-led and accessible to the largest number of people
initiatives supporting local colleges and schools within possible.
its area. It is also working to minimise its impact on “It’s extremely encouraging that so many
the environment and has a vision to become the UK’s organisations that we have seen through our
leading ethical, environmentally-friendly bathroom partnership with the Civic Trust share our vision,
business. Part of this is helping the consumer to which is why we are very proud to be supporting the
achieve a more sustainable lifestyle by continual Inclusive Design Award.”
investment into water efficient products. Bristan’s

4 If you would like to sponsor a future award, contact

Civic Trust Awards 2009 -
shortlist announced
One hundred and five buildings,
public spaces and developments
have been shortlisted for the Civic
Trust Awards 2009. One of the
oldest built environment schemes
in Europe, the Civic Trust Awards
will be celebrating their 50th
anniversary this year.
The Civic Trust Awards are
unique in that they not only
recognise architectural excellence,
but also highlight those buildings
which bring a real benefit to
their local communities. Each of recognition - Awards,
building is judged by a team which Commendations and Mentions,
comprises an architect, inclusive and the shortlisted schemes will
design assessor, local authority find out their results at the 50th
representative and a member of Anniversary Awards Ceremony Vote for your favourite
the local community. The views and Gala Dinner on 18th March
of the people who use, pass by, 2009 at the Emirates Stadium in Civic Trust Award Winner
or live near the buildings are as London.
important to the Civic Trust as The full shortlist is available on from the last 50 years
those of the professionals who the Civic Trust Awards website
design and build the schemes. ( From cafes and churches to housing and
There are three levels uk), and includes: Kew Treetop hospitals, the Civic Trust has rewarded over
Walkway and Rhizotron 5,500 buildings which have made a difference
(pictured, left, photo: David to local people and their communities by
Churchill), Kielder Observatory, providing the design and facilities which have
St Pancras Station, Titan made better places for people.
Crane, Clydebank, Debenhams, In 2009, the Civic Trust Awards is celebrating
Liverpool, Brockwell Lido its 50th anniversary and to commemorate
(above, photo: Peter Durant), this, we would like to recognise and reward
Sunderland Aquatic Centre, a scheme that is considered to be the most
The De La Warr Pavilion, Nant successful Civic Trust Award winner over the
Clwydd House, Ruthin, Leeds past 50 years, voted for by you.
City Hall, Rotunda, William For further information, to view the shortlist
Smith Museum of Geology, and vote, visit
Scarborough (cover)
Strule Arts Centre, Omagh Tickets for the 50th Anniversary Civic Trust
If you would like any Awards Ceremony are now on sale from
further information, please Hosted by the
contact Malcolm Hankey Trust’s President, Griff Rhys Jones, and with a
on 0151 231 6906 or email keynote speech by world renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell, the event will be held on 18th March 2009 at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Find updates and links at 5

In brief
News TV
PETER BEMBRIDGE left the Civic IN 1971, the Civic Trust produced a 35 min-
Trust at the end of October 2008, to ute film about conservation areas in England,
pursue other interests. their threats and the way forward. The film helped ‘A Future for the Past’
Peter has been with the Trust since capture the essence of what is beautiful about our
April 2004, initially as Director of towns, village and cities with the abundance of heritage around us. The video is
Operations, and since July 2005 as as relevant today as it was nearly 40 years ago and it is now available to view
Managing Director. During Peter’s at Copies can also be purchased by emailing
time with the Trust there have been or calling 0151 231 6908.
many innovations and our activi-
ties have grown and expanded to DISCOVERING RETFORD, a DVD produced in 2007 by the Retford Civic Soci-
include High Street, Purple Flag and ety, provides a tour of the town’s heritage. Simon Groom, who narrates the film,
the Built Environment Network. We takes audiences on a journey through the town, detailing the history and stories
have also seen the introduction of behind local landmarks such as Carolgate, Grove Street, the Majestic Theatre
all the technology from which we and St Swithun’s Church, there is also a meeting with a surprise guest in the
now benefit, and many structural White Hart Yard.
changes which have strengthened The film is part of Retford Civic Society’s phase one community restoration proj-
the organisation. ect which has involved a series of area improvements including new information
The Trustees would like to thank boards around the town and canal, planters, plaques, extra seating and Victo-
Peter for his contribution over the rian street lighting in some areas.
last four and a half years and wish
him all the best for the future. SHARE YOUR videos, walks and talks!
The Civic Trust would like to make Civic Trust TV into a true
GREG ANDREWS has joined the one stop shop for videos that can be accessed by all Civic
Civic Trust as Interim Managing Societies, so whether you have recorded a question time
Director, and will be based at the session or have a video highlighting your town, why not
Trust’s headquarters in London. send it to us and we will upload if for you. Send your video to
Greg is an experienced interim
executive, with recent experience
including Director posts at the
London Development Agency, and
The National Foundation for Youth
Music. Greg also has considerable
experience in the financial services
industry, and is a welcome addition Policy
to the Civic Trust team. You can IN JANUARY 2007, the
contact Greg at iharvey@civictrust. Government announced proposals for marking FAO: Greg Andrews THE CIVIC TRUST has a new agency to deliver housing and
responded to the consultation Plan- regeneration in England. The Housing
PHILIP KOLVIN, the Civic Trust ning for a Better London. We have and Regeneration Act 2008 received
Chairman, recently gave a talk to a focused our comments largely on Royal Assent in July 2008, paving
group of Civic Societies in Leeds. community aspects of the proposals, the way for the official launch of the
This free event was an opportunity and on our views as to how the Mayor Homes and Communities Agency and
for Civic Societies to directly gain should aim to benefit from the experi- the Tenants Services Authority (the
advice from a top barrister. Philip ence and enthusiasm of Londoners regulatory body for Registered Social
practises in the field of licensing, - which we consider was discouraged Landlords) on 1 December 2008. The
regulation, planning and local gov- by the GLA in past years - and ensure Homes and Communities Agency is
ernment and is Head of the Licens- wider support for his aims and poli- a non-departmental public body and
ing Team at 2-3 Grays Inn Square cies by engaging as wide a public as their sponsor government department
and Chairman of the Institute of feasible in the planning of their own is Communities and Local Govern-
Licensing. City. Please visit the website to read ment (CLG). To learn more about this
You can view the talk Philip gave at: the full response. organisation please visit

Network news

Assessors needed for Purple
Flag accreditation for towns and city centres
Are you involved
in managing
and developing
the night time
We are currently
practitioners to
become assessors
for Purple Flag.
Purple Flag is the new “standard” for entertainment and
Strategy hospitality zones at night. It is a fresh approach to nightlife,
linked to the standards that people expect from their town
centres. The Civic Trust is launching Purple Flag in Spring
THE CIVIC TRUST has developed a strategy to take it
2009. To find out more, please visit the Purple Flag website.
forward over the next three years. This document sets
We are looking for a wide range of experienced
out our strategic objectives and our vision.
practitioners involved in managing and developing the night
We have also launched the Annual Review of Activities
time economy - Police Officers, Town Centre Managers,
2008, which highlights the successes of the Trust and
Business Improvement District Managers, Licensing
our members. From the Civic Trust Awards scheme to
Officers, Licensees, Planning Officers, Transport workers,
Heritage Open Days, the Civic Trust and its members
Environmental Health Officers, members of Crime and
have worked hard to create and celebrate better places
Disorder Reduction Partnerships. To find out more or register
for people.
your interest in becoming an assessor please phone Paul
Both documents are available by contacting
Todd on 0151 231 6904 or email

THE FREE 2009 Civic Society Training pro- DID YOU MISS the live Civic Society CHESTER CIVIC
gramme, jointly funded by English Heritage, is discussion on Conservation Areas? TRUST are celebrating
designed to demonstrate how Civic Societies Don’t worry; you can still visit the their 50th anniversary
can widen community involvement in the his- forum to see the discussion that in 2010 and they have
toric built environment by developing projects took place. We heard from Elizabeth many things planned for
that will make it more relevant and attractive to Allison, Sutton Coldfield Civic Society 2010 including a Jubilee
young people and BME community members. who answered questions from civic Dinner to get things off
We will be offering a number of training events societies about conservation area to a flying start! Chester
where you will: appraisals based on her experiences. Civic Trust would like to
· Learn from examples of innovative best prac- To access the discussion please click know if any other Civic
tice up and down the country Societies are celebrat-
· Consider the challenges and opportunities be- viewthread/95. See also page 20. ing a similar anniversary
ing faced by us all within our built environment The Civic Trust plan on making this as they would like to
To book onto these events please visit www. a weekly initiative, if you would like discuss joint work. If you or for further infor- to share your experiences with other are why not let us know
mation call 0151 231 6908 or email us at civic societies on the forum email by emailing helpdesk@

Let us know your news T: 0151 231 6908 E: 7

Beneath Regency
Casting a light on the small and humble
Nick Tyson on a new approach to was “Industrial Landscape”, and its industrial area that was scheduled
heritage participation in Brighton flagship project “The Foundry Street for demolition in the 1970s. Having
Event”, designed to introduce local avoided this fate, it now provides
Brighton & Hove’s contribution to residents and Open Door visitors housing and work areas for a broad
Heritage Open Days, Brighton & to the history of a typical early 19th cross-section of the community, but
Hove Open Door, can pride itself on century Brighton street and the people is still considered by many Brighton &
being one of those few local events who lived and worked there between Hove residents to have relatively little
which have been running as long the 1820s and the 1970s. Guided going for it, on either the architectural
as the national scheme. The event tours took in selected private houses or historical fronts.
is co-ordinated by The Regency in Foundry Street, an information It was decided to stage the Foundry
Town House (, an point was positioned centrally in the Street Event for two main reasons:
organisation, based in a Grade I listed thoroughfare and posters, attached to firstly, to emphasise that lesser
mid-1820s terraced property in Hove’s the front elevation of each property, known, smaller houses and streets
Brunswick Square, which is being listed 150 years of occupancy history. are also an important part of our
developed as a heritage centre with Large, eye-catching posters at either City’s architectural, social and cultural
a focus on the City’s rich architectural end of the street gave an outline of the heritage and secondly, to provide an
legacy. Open Door 2008 exceeded all street’s history. opportunity for the current occupants
local expectations with 52 venues and Foundry Street takes its name from of those properties to participate in
activities on offer, attracting more than the now demolished Regent Iron and Open Door as venues and guides.
4,000 people. Brass Foundry and is located in the David Roberts, a volunteer Open
The key theme chosen for 2008 centre of the North Laine; a one-time Door organiser, agrees: “There is
a general tendency to look at our
architectural heritage solely in terms
of the grand houses, public buildings
and places of worship; the living
spaces and workplaces of the people
that built, supplied and serviced those
buildings, and many more besides,
are virtually ignored.”
Heritage Open Days is about
celebrating the diversity of places
that make up our communities and
highlights the humble and familiar
next to the design classics and hidden
gems. But it is true that the national
programme is still dominated by
the sacred and grand while small,
privately occupied, secular dwellings
are a tiny minority. This is a great
missed opportunity, in my view. By
encouraging the participation of

Open Days

smaller private properties in the event, are attending courses at

we hope to make more people aware The Town House to learn
of our architectural heritage. People how to identify and collate
are motivated to understand things the historical information required.
that are directly relevant to them. The It was difficult to convince locals that
home seems like a good place to start they could be participants in Heritage
with. Open Days. There were concerns
More than 1,000 people visited about letting strangers into their
Foundry Street during the nine hours homes, so security issues needed to
the event took place. Five small North be addressed and alleviated. They
Laine/East Steine area properties also worried about whether they would
opened to the public for the first time – have sufficient information about their
needless to say that these tours were property to make a visit interesting. By
fully booked. The event’s success also setting up an event that focused on
encouraged other residents to become the occupancy records for their homes
involved and open up their home in and the street’s varied history, these
the future. Furthermore, it unearthed inhibitions were quickly overtaken by
previously unknown historical the fascination of what was revealed
materials about Foundry Street, held and the fun of sharing this with others.
by local residents, and generated new If up-scaled trials in 2009 prove
information from former residents who successful, and Open Door visitors
visited during the event. The Open continue to express their support
Door team hopes to establish an oral for Foundry Street-like events, the
history programme in response to this. Regency Town House plans to stage a
Perhaps most significantly, the limited national roll-out of the concept If your society feels
Foundry Street Event also stimulated in 2010. By then, it is hoped that inspired to find out more,
ten expressions of interest from local organisers will be offered access to
groups keen to develop a similar event a website providing event set-up and please get in touch with
in their street for Open Door 2009. To delivery information, and an online Katja Condy, Heritage
this end, sixteen people signed up to database to assist with the collation
receive training courses offered at the of the historical information gathered
Open Days Manager, at
Brighton History Centre in conjunction during the preparatory phase.
with Open Door and a similar number uk

Find updates and links at 9

Standard head Rough guide to
going green
by Angela Brady,
Architect, TV presenter and Vice-Chair of the
Civic Trust Awards National Panel

Starting points Insulation double glazed windows. uPVC is not

If we create a warm box then we will a sustainable material and their life is
It was great to have the opportunity to not have to pay a fortune to heat it to short.
speak at the Yorkshire and Humber keep warm in Winter. In the UK there There are many good manufacturers
Association of Civic Societies are estimated to be around 8 million of timber windows. If affordable I
Quarterly Meeting in Ripon a few homes without adequate insulation. favour the timber inside and metal
weeks ago and there was a real Insulating your loft with 200mm exterior double glazed units. Shutters
interest from people as to what they – 300mm / 8” -12” of insulation will and interlined heavy curtains in winter
can do themselves to be more eco have an immediate result and reduced can add further insulation.
friendly and make their own homes energy bills. It is relatively easy to
more efficient, cost effective and install and there are special offers at Sealing draughts
sustainable. I thought I would put present. Cavity wall insulation can It is amazing the difference cutting
together some rough guidance on be pumped in through temporary out a draught makes. Properly sealed
“ways to go green”. small gaps made in the walls without windows and doors are key to keeping
There are some very informative much disruption and solid walls can your home warm. Sash window and
websites and people friendly drop in be insulated on the outside, but this door sealants are easily available, but
centres where you can get readily will depend on the type of finish there don’t cut out the necessary ventilation
available information leaflets and is – if it is Victorian brickwork with to your rooms as important minimum
guidance and advice on what mouldings in a conservation area standards are set for ventilation with
energy grants are available in your – then it will not be an easy option. trickle vents and airbricks. Take
area from the Government. There The building regulations only apply care if you have a gas effect fire, gas
are energy drop in offices and The to new build homes or works being fire or real fire as enough oxygen is
Energy Savings Trust have a great carried out to existing ones, so much needed for your health and safety.
website which will give you step by of the older housing stock is still below A hall door when open can suck
step guidance on how to insulate minimum standard of basic insulation. most of the heat from your home
your home, make critical savings and Make a commitment to insulate your in seconds. Add a draught lobby
where to seek help with grants. They walls and loft, and do it this month if if possible or even a heavy duty
also have a useful Home Energy affordable. Take action now. interlined curtain over a hall door.
Check which will give you an idea of Add a flap to the letterbox too to keep
how efficient your home is. Windows: glazing or sealing draughts at bay.
The starting point really is to see Like walls much heat is lost
how much energy our homes are through single glazing. The building Cut your carbon footprint
using and to see if we can cut this regulations insist on double glazing We should all be reducing our impact
down without feeling the pinch or for new homes and even limits the on the planet by reducing our CO2.
changing your life style dramatically. amount of glass, but the older housing Too much carbon is being dumped
You can purchase an energy plug and stock is well behind current standards. into the atmosphere and because it
see how much energy each appliance If double glazing is too expensive is colourless odourless and invisible
uses or a meter to see how much your then consider secondary glazing we are not easily aware of our direct
household is using at any one time. which consists of large glass sheets and devastating impact. We have
In winter we need a warm home which are clipped on in front of the little time left to make a difference to
using minimum energy and in Summer windows in winter and then stored save us from irreversible atmospheric
it needs to be naturally cool and also away in Summer, good for cutting changes which will further affect future
well ventilated. out sound too. I always avoid uPVC generations. If we all make an effort

now we can make a huge difference.
Homes contribute to 50 per cent of
CO2 emissions. We should be aiming
at 1 tonne per person per year or less.
At present the average UK citizen
uses 8 tonnes!
There are lots of simple and practical
ways to make a difference and reduce Food choices & recycling saving on climate change emissions
our carbon footprint. Want to find out Our food choices make up 30 per cent and it can also provide a free compost
what your carbon footprint is? of our carbon footprint, which we can for the garden. If you don’t have a reduce by buying locally and choosing garden, you can still stop compost
calculator/start fruit and veg in season - which tastes waste going to landfill, find out
Cut your car usage and walk more, much better too. whether your local council has a green
consider a car share and use public Check the labels before buying waste collection or take it to your local
transport. Not only will you be fitter, food and see how far it has travelled. civic amenity site.
but you will save loads of money on Start growing your own in a pot, plot Herb gardens are easy to start up
petrol and live in a cleaner healthier or garden. When cooking meals it is or plant a fruit tree and make jam in
atmosphere. Wear warmer clothes cheaper, more efficient and saves season.
and cut the thermostat to 18 C. energy to cook in bulk.
The less energy used in our homes You can make this a sociable event
the less carbon is used on heating and and get together with friends to have
cooling. Buying energy efficient home a “Cookathon” – cooking several pots Ban the plastic bag
appliances saves energy and money. at the same time. It can be done by Count the number of plastic bags
If your boiler is over 14 years old you barter or sharing buying of vegetables you are casually given in a weeks
could replace it with a quality highly and other foods. Getting together shopping - then multiply by 52 - and
efficient condensing boiler or add solar is a great communal event too. you may have a staggering 1,000
panels or geothermal power in rural Whether it‘s a day of making lasagne, per year. Plastic bags can last for
areas for water heating. Regarding bolognaise or vegetable curries, all a hundred years and contribute to
holidays and flights, I think in this can be eaten freshly or frozen. It will ground and river pollution and harm
economic downturn more people will certainly be an economic way to cook wildlife. Make a choice to ban the
holiday at home in UK which will save home made meals and a lot healthier plastic bag and use simple non plastic
on millions of air miles. than those in supermarkets. reusable bags. A good family reminder
Dave Hampton is the Carbon Coach Swap soups, hot pots and veg is to have a penalty of 20p for every
and you can get personal advice dishes to give variety and choice bag if you forget. Amazing how it all
form him on how to reduce your CO2. among friends. It makes a practical adds up! Put it towards your budget to
Change all your light bulbs to low present to give someone home make your house green.
energy ones– it’s easy to do and cuts cooked meals. In the next issue I will be giving tips
your bills too. Collect your vegetable peelings on using and saving water and other to reuse in the garden. Over 30 per ways to cut your energy bills.
or join a campaign and act on CO2 cent of an average household bin
reduction now can be composted at home, from You can ask Angela a question by vegetable peelings to teabags. Home emailing
actonco2 composting diverts waste from landfill, marking your email: FAO Angela.

Find updates and links at 11

Living sustainably

The Environmental Law Foundation’s

Sustainable Communities Project Transition towns
Transition Towns are towns that adopted
The decline in local biodiversity and the loss of open green space is a a “transition initiative” to respond to the
predominant concern among those seeking help and support from the challenges and opportunities of peak oil and
Environmental Law Foundation’s (ELF) legal team. ELF has responded climate change.
therefore with the launch of its Sustainable Communities Project What is a Transition Initiative?
(SC project) which will help local communities to raise their concerns A Transition Initiative is a community
more forcefully by using the mechanisms set out in the Sustainable working together address the issue of
Communities Act 2007. peak oil and climate change. The object
The SC project was launched on the 11th November 2008 during is to increase the resilience of a local
the Seventh National Pro Bono Week. The event attracted some 50 community to the effects of peak oil and to
community groups and interested participants from around the UK. 10 reduce carbon emissions. Peak oil is the
Civic Societies were offered a free place at the event, paid for by the point in time when the maximum rate of
Trust. Over 15 representatives of Civic Societies attended the event, global petroleum extraction is reached, after
amongst them representing hundreds more Societies. which the rate of production enters terminal
The principal aim of the SC project is to provide local communities decline.
with the legal tools to enable them to implement at local level the The group carries out the following tasks:
provisions of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. In order to • awareness raising around peak oil,
assist local community groups ELF will work with regional volunteer climate change and the need to undertake
co-ordinators to provide local events on the SCA and help community a community lead process to rebuild
groups throughout the regions to network on environmental problems at resilience and reduce carbon
a more strategic regional level. ELF believes the Act presents new and connecting with existing groups in the
exciting opportunities for local groups to be engaged in environmental community
democracy by bringing about real change in the environmental policies • building bridges to local government
of local authorities. connecting with other transition initiatives
In launching the SC project ELF were fortunate to host some excellent forming groups to look at all the key areas
speakers including Nick Hurd MP, who sponsored the private members of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart
bill through Parliament, Ron Bailey of Unlock Democracy and Local & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)
Works and Mike Benner of CAMRA. Each of these speakers had been • kicking off projects aimed at building
instrumental in the realization of the Sustainable Communities Bill people’s understanding of resilience and
becoming law. This was illustrated as each speaker was able to speak carbon issues and community engagement
with real enthusiasm amongst about the possibilities the Act presented. eventually launching a community defined,
It felt like a new dawn for local democracy. community implemented “Energy Descent
Now is an ideal time for local communities to lobby their Councils Action Plan” over a 15 to 20 year timescale
to achieve maximum involvement in the Act. ELF can assist groups What is an Energy Descent Action Plan?
in achieving this by providing training on the Act and networking local An energy descent action plan looks at how
community groups through its regional volunteer scheme. ELF’s aim a community could make the transition from
is to ensure that every local authority participates in the Act and help a high energy consumption town to a low
local community groups to take up their places on the Citizens Panels, energy one in response to the challenge
and therefore be part of the forum for proposing local solutions to local of the impending peaking of world oil
problems. production.
We hope all those who attended the event will support us in this new The plan sets out a clear vision of a
and exciting project and we are keen to hear from anyone interested lower energy future, and then identifying
in advising local community groups on ways to present more strategic a clear timetable for achieving it. This
proposals at a regional level. The event was well received and often includes all aspects of life such as
feedback was extremely positive. The event also helped to highlight the food, energy, transport, housing, tourism,
possibilities for further future collaboration between the Environmental education and health.
Law Foundation and the Civic Trust, both working as a voice for local You can find out more about Transition
communities. towns, including a list of Transition
Emma Montlake: Towns in the UK at

Skipton in Craven win award in first
ever Civic Societies Week Sponsor profile: Spawforths
The results of the first ever Yorkshire & Humber Spawforths have donated a trophy and
Civic Societies Week, held in the summer, sponsored YHACS’s first Civic Societies
were announced at a successful event held at week in recognition of the initiatives,
Ripon last October. The winners were Skipton continuity and enthusiasm of these societies.
in Craven Civic Society who won a trophy and In making the first annual award to Skipton
were presented with a cheque for £250. The in Craven Civic Society Peter said that for
trophy was sponsored by Planners, Urbanists over forty years he has worked in partnership
and Architects, Spawforth Rolinson Ltd and their with Civic Societies and over twenty five of
chairman, Peter Spawforth MBE, was at the these were from inside local government.
event to present the trophy and certificates. The They provide a voice when no one is there to
event was also supported by public relations speak out. Over thirty years ago a member of
company Different PR of Harrogate and the Civic Trust. one Society told Peter that it was created because
Skipton showed great enterprise during Civic Societies Week. ‘they’ did nothing about it and then realised that
They organised a research project, held library and town centre the ‘they’ could become ‘us’ if a Civic Society was
displays, held a guided walk of town development sites and formed; and it was.
hired a canal boat for a day with a banner fixed to the side and Peter said, “Government tends to work in short
had members issuing literature about the Society. cycles of four or five years driven by a political
However, the high number of entries received meant that it agenda and the investment community whether
would have been difficult to recognise the achievements of developing a major block or placing a dormer
just one Society so, after the style of the national Civic Trust window on a bungalow is driven by economics.
Awards, commendations and mentions were also awarded. Civic Societies are the jam in the sandwich
Commendations were presented to Bridlington, Harrogate between authorities and investors. They provide
and Ripon Civic Societies with Certificates of Mention going to continuity and enthusiasm and can jam the
Castleford Civic Trust, Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Civic machinery of decision makers quite affectively for
Society and Huddersfield, Selby, Spen Valley and Wakefield a while whilst schemes are re-examined. The final
Civic Societies. result is usually worth their extra effort.”
Civic Societies Week was masterminded by YHACS, the Spawforths are town planners, urbanists and
Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies, which architects, the company sponsored YHACS Civic
was established in 1999 to support and promote the work of Societies week and provided the Peter Spawforth
the region’s Societies and represent them at regional level. The Trophy which will be awarded annually to a Civic
whole event was organised by a small team from the YHACS Society in Yorkshire and the Humber Region for
committee, led by Kevin Trickett. Peter Cooper, Chairman of outstanding achievement. Peter has recently
YHACS said: ’We were delighted with how this whole event retired as Chairman to become Life President of
went, it was an entirely new idea for us but we know that, to Spawforths.
thrive, our movement has to be progressive and demonstrate The trophy is made of plum wood and it comes
that it is ready to tackle future challenges and embrace change. from Guisborough. Plum wood is a source of
Our Societies have shown they can do this and even enjoy material for musical instruments, recorders and the
themselves at the same time.’ lute as well as plums for jam making.
The aim of Civic Societies Week was to raise the profile of Peter Spawforth recalled, “It happens that
the Civic Society movement across the region and celebrate Guisborough is the home of a once great medieval
the important work that Societies do in providing a community priory with its own orchards and if we go back
voice on development and regeneration matters. 34 Societies almost exactly six hundred years then at that time
from across the Yorkshire and Humber region took part in the one of my ancestors Thomas de Spofforth was
week-long event from Saturday 21st June through to Sunday Abbot of St Mary’s Abbey in York. It would be nice
29th June by hosting their own activities, putting on displays to think that on an occasion around 1408 these
and events, and running campaigns. Following on from the two clergymen met at Guisborough for a meal and
success of this year’s event, the YHACS committee is pleased partook of jam made from damsons taken from
to announce that Civic Societies Week 2009 will run from a priory tree never dreaming that in six hundred
Saturday, June 27th to Sunday July 5th. We hope that we can years its progeny would provide this trophy – who
build on the success of 2008 to make Civic Societies Week knows?”
2009 an even bigger event.
Peter Cooper

For more information email 13

A week in the life of
Corsham Civic Society

The week-commencing Monday, 24th Society has been undertaking the was the November Corsham Civic
November was rather a special one Mayo Memorial Restoration Project Society ‘Open Meeting’ to prepare for
for the Corsham Civic Society, located since the summer of 2006. This is and speak at.
in North Wiltshire, 8 miles east of one of those Local Heritage Initiative The Society, along with most
Bath. Peter Tapscott, member of the projects, now subsumed into the others, no doubt, publishes a regular
Society and of the Civic Trust’s National Heritage Lottery Fund. Yes, it involves newsletter. Ours is called ‘Corsham
Committee, takes up the story. the restoration of a stone memorial to Spotlight’. It comes out three times a
a Victorian philanthropist who did a year. The November 2008 edition was
Over Monday, Tuesday and lot for Corsham. However, you don’t ready for distribution to members at
Wednesday I attended the Churches get nearly £25k from the LHI/HLF this Open Meeting. Editions can be
Tourism Association’s AGM for simply restoring a stone edifice. viewed on the Society’s website, www.
wwww.churchestourismassociati You also need to embark upon a, under and bi-annual Convention major undertaking to achieve greater ‘Newsletter Archive’. All are ‘rattlin’
at Swanwick in Derbyshire. This community awareness as to why good reads’!
was relevant to the Society’s work, the monument came to be erected This edition of ‘Corsham Spotlight’
through it being a founder member in the first place. This required, for was our launch vehicle for the Griff
of something called the Corsham us, that we secure the participation Rhys Jones Membership appeal (see
Area Development Trust, in being of several schools and various local page 18 for more information).
the Coordinator of one of the five groups. Members of the Society threw Each copy contained the
Pathfinders for the national ASPIRE themselves into this wholeheartedly membership leaflet inside. I had
Project, presently being led by the – achieving increased public profile written an article expounding the
Churches Conservation Trust. Ours is for the Society in the surrounding Appeal’s virtues. It was prominently
called the ‘North Wiltshire Pathfinder’. towns as a result. (Increased profile = positioned. I drew attention to it in my
The other ones are concentrated increased recruiting.) announcements to the members –
on Northumberland, Liverpool/ It was, without doubt, the latter pointing out that the Corsham Society
Manchester, Herefordshire and increasing community awareness was one of the first to promote the
Central Bristol. aspect which led Peter to making Appeal to its members and, therefore,
Above all else it was an opportunity a trip to London on Thursday. The it was likely that a positive response
for networking. There were just so Corsham Civic Society had been from our neck of the woods would be
many people gathered in the one selected for the 2008 Marsh Award, fairly easily identifiable with the efforts
place, all with a common interest in as administered by the Public of this Society.
making Places of Worship the focal Monuments & Sculpture Association, To prove the point, I received an
points in the community – not only for assisted by English Heritage, for its email from Ian Harvey at ‘mission
actual worship but for all sorts of other work on the Mayo Restoration Project. control’ the next working morning
purposes; visiting and integration with The presentation was made by HRH (Monday), informing me that that a
other forms of tourism that support the The Duke of Gloucester, President of donation from the Corsham area had
so-called ‘tourism economy’, musical the PMSA, at the Courtauld Institute of arrived over the weekend, and asking
performances, meeting venues, etc., Art, Somerset House. A truly glittering me what I knew about it.. Just goes
etc. The attendance list ran to over venue and occasion! to show, Wiltshire folk are not slow off
135 people. Presentations were Friday had its own special features. the mark!
delivered by Sir Roy Strong, Lloyd Apart from it being the day to put Peter Tapscott
Grossman and many others. The the finishing touches to the latest Corsham Civic Society
ASPIRE team were there in force. Quarterly Progress Report and Inkind
All that required a quick drive up Report for the HLF-funded Mayo
the Fosse, M69 and M1 – and back Restoration Project – don’t they come • If you’d like to share an exciting
again. The train took the strain around frequently (thank goodness or typical week with us, email
on Thursday. The Corsham Civic the project is almost finished) – there

Grass Roots is your quarterly
update magazine. Please send your
updates, case studies and reviews to
Useful links

Society Toolbox
Technology Donations from Microsoft, Cisco & Symantec
Richard Cooper register through the CTX website facility on the CTX website. Log in
Development Manager, Charity ( and click on the “Browse Products”
Technology Trust The donors will only send licence icon. The process is very similar
There’s no doubt that effective use information to the email address to the typical shopping cart facility
of technology can deliver significant and physical products to the on most websites, with a couple of
benefits. This is particularly true for office address your organisation exceptions.
small voluntary organisations where has registered with the charity Each donor partner operates a
any improvement in efficiency can commission, so you need to provide separate scheme so you can’t mix
help take the pressure off stretched these as part of the process - donors’ products in the same cart,
resources. However allocating funds you can find them on the Charity you need to checkout your Microsoft
to acquire the latest technology is Commission website ( donation request then do separate
often an understandably low priority. if you don’t know requests for Cisco, Symantec etc.
The good news is that, through them. Also, because they are donation
Charity Technology Exchange (CTX), Once you’ve registered, your programmes, it’s not a shop you can
many charities can get access to details will be validated by the keep coming back to. All the donors
the latest technology in the form CTX team and your core activities have a donation cycle, for example
of discounted technology products assessed against each donor’s Microsoft will donate up to 6 titles
from some of the world’s largest eligibility criteria. It’s well worth and up to 50 user licences per title
technology companies including reviewing these criteria before you in a two year period. But only two
Microsoft, Symantec and Cisco (a start. While there is a common donation requests can be made in
full list of the donor partners can registration process, the rules around that period and they must be a year
be found at each donor’s scheme are different. or more apart. So you can’t request
about_ctx/partners and you can see You can find the eligibility criteria and 3 titles today and then make another
the products currently available from the amount of products each donor is request for 3 more titles next week,
them by going to www.ctxchange. prepared to donate (“entitlement”) at: you’ll have to wait the full year!
org/directory). The other donors operate similar
Charities pay a small administrative partners. processes so please, check the
fee to cover the costs of running Once your details have been entitlement pages before you start
the programme and whilst the validated and your core activities requesting your donations.
administrative fees vary, charities will assessed, you’ll receive an email Finally, you need to pay the admin
still make savings of between 92- telling you which donors your fee at checkout – you can see the fee
96% on typical retail prices. organisations is eligible to receive for each product when you browse
To benefit from the donors’ a donation from. You can then the catalogue – so have a payment
programmes, organisations must request donations through the “shop” card ready.

Join the latest discussions at 15

Conference Exploring the impact of
heritage-led regeneration
on crime reduction, health
and social community

Thursday 13 and Friday 14 November Ground initiated by impressing how we difference!

2008 at Gorton Monastery Manchester need to understand what we have and The social impacts of heritage-led
to bow to the power of the place, she regeneration, based on researched
To arrive in a vibrant Manchester the implored us to seek out the peculiarity evidence, was presented by Ian
night before the Conference was so and patina and see the accumulation Lush and Ela Palmer of AHF who
necessary for acclimatisation to the of changes to a place, both natural saw evidence of ‘better mental and
‘buzz’ of the erstwhile Cottonopolis. and manmade. Happily she stressed physical health; higher attainment in
This still great powerhouse of ideas, the importance of letting nature in education; less anti-social behaviour
wealth and enterprise is much and encouraging judicious planting to and a positive outlook for the future.
changed since my George Best enhance our environments. (There is hope for Northern cities after
inspired student days in the 60s Jenny Abramski (ex Radio 4) Chair all despite the recent ‘Cities Unlimited’
– but so much for the better. Places of Heritage Lottery Fund is only five gloom). It is important to clearly
you never went to then are now the minutes into the job but she gave a record base statistics to later provide
places to go. Castlefields, the heart consummate presentation promoting hard facts in support of perceptions
of goods transport links which made the lottery funded renaissance that is of improved health and attitudes;
Mancunians rich, is where I stayed. taking place nationwide. People are strengthened identity; pride in place
The modern state-of-the-art YHA on eager for heritage and the impact, and increased communication and
the banks of the Bridgewater canal particularly in deprived urban areas participation. Social Capital it’s called.
is underneath many layers of bridges is sensational. See Kelvin Grove; Putting back the Heart and Soul was
and viaducts, once Piranesi-like Merchant City, Glasgow; The Thames the aim of Dr Alyson Cooper’s Penryn
depressing, now seen as dynamic and Gateway; Harrogate Royal Hall; Townscape Heritage Initiative. Her
uplifting. Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth; message stressed the importance
I sensed the ‘embodied’ energy Derby Arboretum; SS Great Britain; of an upbeat appearance regardless
in Manchester and was later to The British Museum, Great Court of the quality or significance of the
realise how the need to ‘husband’ and World Heritage, Blaenavon. building. A THI fund to £11 million was
this already invested energy through These examples show how £4 billion matched by £8.2 million of private
sensitive adaptations of old buildings has changed places for the better, funding and proved that increased
to new uses was the reason why I resuscitated traditions and culture confidence encouraged others to
was here. Thus, I was primed for and improved the quality of life. invest. Go to Cornwall to enjoy the
the Regeneration Conference by the Encouragingly she suggested the significant results achieved by this
evolutionary change and the blend of importance of volunteers and stressed initiative!
past and present in the city itself. I was that regeneration projects, routed in a The Reinstatement of Place was a
not to be disappointed as the venue sense of place, stand the best chance concept addressed by Jamie Coath of
and the speakers were excellent. of success and sustainability. Purcell Miller Tritton. He convincingly
The speakers impressed with both In 2009 £180 million for investment illustrated his firm’s sensitive work
style and content, none palled or will fund imaginative and robust promoting a renewal of the sense
faltered and then it was on to the next schemes to improve people’s lives. of place, culture and well being at
issue – thanks to great planning and If you are a lucky one in five granted various locations including Kirkstall
organisation by Ian Lush and his team an award you will need to show green Abbey (where I discovered what is
from the Architectural Heritage Fund. credentials and a clear understanding ‘ferramenta’ – iron railings, of course).
of how heritage enables us to engage Also for Leeds, some restoration
The Speakers the future and galvanize local pride and recycling of Victorian parts in
There was something for all those and identity. Your stewardship must Roundhay Park. His scope included
attending. Sue Clifford of Common prove that HLF really does make a ‘Memory and Familiarity’ restored to

Malcolm Sharman
reports from an
optimistic Manchester
city centre

St. Ethelburga’s Church in Bishopgate,

London. He combined ‘Learning
and Latte’ at Weston Park Museum
in Sheffield, working with Redman
Associates to increase attendance by
four times. That’s success!

World Heritage Site

Today Manchester, tomorrow the
world picture; and Blaenavon in Wales
is one of twenty four world heritage
sites. Blaenavon was presented to
us by Dr Peter Wakelin and John
Rodger, site co-ordinator, who jointly
told the story of how the world’s
largest concentration of iron making
in 1786, has become a significant
World Heritage Site. It’s a massively
gratifying story with profound results
to benefit the region and lead to a
firm base for the future. I admired
their achievement and was moved by
their passion. You must Google the
Blaenavon World Heritage Site.
To sum up there was much to enjoy
and admire from Dawson Stelfox of
Belfast; Paul Hartley of Stockport;
Anne McChlery, Glasgow, all sharing
the focus on what is already there.
On a different tack, Barry Quirk, help guide ideas and initiatives from learned from this beacon organisation
Chief Executive of Lewisham, the voluntary sector towards valuable and the way that it benefits end users.
appeared Merlin-like and commanding regeneration realities. Thanks to the Angels of Manchester
as one would expect the author
of the Quirk Report on Asset
Management and Asset Transfer to
The Location
The Gorton Monastery story was told
for their welcome and providing this
uplifting example of success in the
regeneration game.
be. He enlightened the conference, by Paul Refford. This 1872 Gothic On a final celebrity note, Kevin
suggesting that ‘the more uncertainty revival Franciscan Monastery closed McCloud of Grand Designs was a
there is, the more opportunity for in 1990 but since 1996 a trust has most entertaining and relevant after-
social entrepreneurs. His statement saved and given new life and new dinner speaker and it was a great
that the act of community enterprise purpose to this wonderful place. In pleasure to find him just as good in
energises emotional and spiritual 2008 it received a Civic Trust Award reality as he is on TV.
interactions reassured us all, including Commendation. The emphasis here Malcolm Sharman, Hull Civic
Annemarie Naylor of the Development is on collaboration with the local Society/Yorkshire and Humber
Trust Association who pledged to community and there is much to be Association of Civic Societies

Find updates and links at 17

briefing The Civic Trust needs more funding to support
our societies. In this briefing for members we
answer your questions on the campaign

“I joined the Civic Trust you are already part of a encourage more of our helpdesk@civicsocieties.
because I share your national network of over communities to care about, or call 0151 231
passion for improving a quarter of a million the places where they live, 6908.
the places in which we people who have pledged work and relax. The children
all live, work and relax. their support to making a who need their parks; How can my Civic Society
Like you, I care about my difference to the places that the young people who help?
home, my city and the matter to them. want to see a sustainable Please distribute the
spaces where my family The Civic Trust is also future, and the individuals appeal leaflet amongst your
and friends choose to making a difference. who want to shop locally, members – at meetings,
spend their time” Our press coverage is improve their environment in your newsletter, or
Griff Rhys Jones increasing and we’re and influence the decisions by email (we have an
responding to more that are made locally. electronic version). The
We were delighted when Government consultations. We need more people to leaflet includes information
Griff Rhys Jones agreed More and more members join us and add their voices about how to donate to the
to join us as our President, are taking advantage of our to ours, so that together appeal. Alternatively your
and to spearhead our training events, helpdesk we will become a nationally Society may wish to make a
campaign to raise more and our online forum and recognised civic movement. group donation.
funds. With Griff’s backing, facilities. Over 550 people If we are to make this a
we are raising funds which have attended our events reality, the Civic Trust needs I am an individual member
will be used specifically and used the helpdesk over to raise around a quarter – can I donate to the appeal?
for the support and the last 12 months. of a million pounds per Yes please. We are grateful
development of the Civic Together we must year from its Civic Society for all contributions, and
Society movement. continue to make a members. individual members also
By joining the Civic Trust, difference, and to make our enjoy benefits; they attend
or your local Civic Society, voices heard. We need to many of our events, receive
Q&A Grass Roots and contribute
to our Government
How will the appeal work? consultations. Please
We are making full use of contact us to request
our nationwide network. a leaflet, or visit www.
Each Regional Association to
has contacted their local make an online donation.
Civic Societies to ask for
their support for the appeal. How much does the appeal
If you are a Civic Society, seek to raise?
you will receive a postcard We are aiming to raise
order form. You can use £250,000. The current
this to order leaflets for cost of subscriptions does
circulation amongst your not cover the cost of the
own members. package of benefits that we
If you haven’t heard from currently offer – and those
your Regional Association, that we wish to develop
and would like a supply following consultation with
of leaflets, please email our members.


Is the target realistic? donation form. members.

With over 750 Civic • Join the Civic Trust as • Remember
Societies registered with in Individual Member. the Civic Trust
the Civic Trust, who in turn Membership options are in your will
represent 250,000 people, available from as little as – contact us for
we believe that our target is £20. You can also use Gift further details
achievable. If each member Aid to help us to increase about how you
gave only £1, we would the value of your donation. can support
meet our goal. You can cut out the form us through
below and send it to us with leaving a
What will the money be used your name and address or legacy.
for? call 0151 231 6908 for a • Join the Civic Trust as a
While the exact way in new form if you are planning Life Member.
which the funds will be used to pass this copy of Grass To see a list of Civic
will be determined by how Roots on. Societies who have so far
much is raised, the Trust • Order some appeal pledged commitment to
has a number of aims: leaflets to distribute the appeal, please visit
• Recruit dedicated policy amongst your Civic Society
and campaign staff who
will improve our links with
Government and decision
• Provide training for Civic
• Organise conferences
and events which will bring
Societies together to share
ideas and network.
• Expand our online and
telephone helpdesk facility
to provide advice and
guidance to members.
• Provide stronger regional

“ All over Britain

The Civic Trust also offers a range of membership
The Civ
support. options. I wish to join the Civic Trust as:
• Improve communications An individual member (£20) � people who love and which to
civic soc
with Societies and A joint member – 2 adults at the same address (£35) �
care about their towns who car

through doing so, provide

newsworthy stories to raise
A life member (£500)

You can support the Civic Trust through leaving a legacy.

and cities work to take www.civ

the national profile of the

Please send details about how I can remember the Civic Trust
in my will. � responsibility for

Help us to increase our funds with Gift Aid something that affects
• Develop specialist If you are a UK taxpayer you can complete the following www.hi

benefits, such as factsheets

declaration, which means that the Civic Trust can reclaim tax
us all – the places www.m

on donations. This increases our funds at no extra costs to you.

and online discussions with I would like all my donations to the Civic Trust to be Gift Aided
unless I notify you. I confirm that I have paid an amount
where we live. I salute
experts. of UK income or capital gains tax equal to any tax reclaimed. �
them, respect them
How can I get involved?
and am delighted to be
made their President.

• Make an online donation,
Company li
Patron HRH
by visiting Please return your completed form to: President G Ian Harvey

Griff Rhys Jones
• Contact The Civic Trust
5th Floor
President, the Civic Trust Printed on R
wood fibre, 2
25% post-co
Century Buildings ISO14001 en

uk or call 0151 231 6908

31 North John Street standard, ful

Liverpool L2 6RG Designed and

and ask for a leaflet and

Update your Society’s webpage at 19

Local work

Helping to write a Conservation Area character appraisal

Elizabeth Allison, Chairman, and when circumstances people’s knowledge and the chance to meet
Sutton Coldfield Civic Society allowed. and expertise. In Sutton interesting people in the
and Honorary Secretary, West In 2006, anxious to move Coldfield we are fortunate course of that research.
Midlands Amenity Societies the High Street up the City’s in having a very good Local • Building a constructive
Association, introduces agenda, we approached our History section in our main relationship with your local
a paper in which she district Senior Conservation library and an excellent Conservation Officer.
reflected upon her Society’s Officer to see if we could Local History Research • Raising the profile of
experiences. help with writing a Character Group. We also appealed your Civic Society (in our
Appraisal. The Officer was through the local newspaper own case, leading to our
Sutton Coldfield Civic supportive and encouraging for residents to share their greater involvement in the
Society became but it took some months memories of the High Street consultations for our town
increasingly concerned at to persuade her line in former years. centre SPD).
the poor state of our historic management that we could Collating all this Interested? Download
High Street, which forms make a useful contribution. information will take a good the PDF at www.
the core of a Conservation We were helped by the deal of time and, if you are and
Area. Heavy traffic, fact that Sutton Coldfield fortunate enough to have see the Website Forum for
inappropriate signage and Town Centre, including offers of help, it seems a Q&A in which Elizabeth
unattractive shop fronts the High Street, became sensible to accept gratefully. answered questions from
have all made matters the subject of a proposed What’s in it for you? other members.
worse since Pevsner in the Supplementary Planning • Greatly enhanced
1970s described the street Document and it was understanding of your own The Forum is now
as “the one place where recognised that our local local area. hosting regular Q&A
Sutton still has a character” knowledge could be drawn • The chance to sessions for members
There did not seem to be upon. offer suggestions for to ask questions and
any master plan for the It may well be simpler improvement, in the hope discuss different topics.
area and we heard that to organise, and more that your work will benefit If you need any help or
this Conservation Area did consistent in style, if one the local area. advice about getting
not figure on Birmingham’s person writes the document • The pleasure and onto the Forum email
list of ten which were but you will almost certainly satisfaction to be gained
scheduled for appraisal as need to draw on other from successful research uk or call 0151 231 6908.

Make the most of Grass Roots magazine

We hope you have enjoyed this 200 words. Have you discovered display advertising to help
issue of Grass Roots and that a useful service that should support the production of Grass
you will use the magazine as a be shared? A resource online? Roots and help members trade
central communications forum, Does a Society or individual with each other. A classified
alongside the web discussion member deserve recognition for ad is £10 per issue for up to 30
forum and the fortnightly e- something of national interest? words for: Notices, Services
grassroots. You are welcome to Is there a book that every person offered, Holiday homes, Property,
send the following contributions: interested in Civic work should Courses & events and others as
News: 100-300 words. Articles read? suggested. For more information
and updates are welcome, please We are interested in any ideas for and to include your classified
also send your blog posts and longer articles, but please get in advert in the Summer issue,
links to news stories in other touch with us before starting so please contact Ian Harvey
publications we can agree a length. on 0151 231 6908 or email
Tools, case studies, reviews: 150- We plan to trial classified and

Local headlines
Of course there’s a lot more Society and
area news than we can fit here and it all Why do Civic Societies need insurance?
goes onto Make
sure you haven’t missed anything in your The aim of a Civic Society is the promotion of civic pride through
area: improvement of the local environment. Whilst work undertaken is often
• £20k Selby grants to fix up shops done so on a voluntary basis, with those involved giving their time
• £13m centre’s Vaz link after second vote and effort for the greater good, accidents causing personal injury and
• Campaign launched for the regeneration damage to property can occur. Coupled with the “blame” culture in
of Tewkesbury which we now live, both organisations, and the individuals involved,
• New plaque for Bridgwater politician can find themselves at the sticky end of a liability suit. This can be both
• Blackburn theatre hits centenary jackpot costly and time consuming, not to mention stressful.
• Stapleford history to be relived Working closely with the Civic Trust, we have endeavoured to gain a
• Neston Community & Youth Centre comprehensive understanding of your activities, and we have created
Opening Event an insurance product tailored specifically to meet your needs.
• Station Court - take two Through our experience as an insurance broker, and more specifically
• Tall buildings will create ‘Berlin Wall’ in working with charitable and non-profit making organisations, we
Nottingham have seen just how easy it is for liability to arise at an exhibition, on a
• New bid to build flats at Burnley landmark guided walk or indeed within a wide range of other activities that the
building Civic Society undertakes. As such, we provide Employers’ Liability up
• Special memorial plan to pay tribute to to £10,000,000, included in those persons covered is not just direct
Formby’s war heroes employees, but also volunteers and supporters of the society as well.
• Board plan to illustrate Formby’s heritage • Public Liability is available at limits of £2,000,000 and £5,000,000.
Debate continues over Bromley’s future This covers your legal liability for loss or injury to any member of
• Museum of Oxford saved from axe the public who has suffered a loss due to personal injury or property
• Oxford Civic Society’s 40th Anniversary damage, as a result of your organisation’s activities. You will appreciate
• Volunteers revamp shelter that your actions in the public domain can leave you vulnerable to being
• Architect wants to draw on French link held liable. Adequate insurances are therefore vital in protecting you as
• Ex-Clitheroe priest’s history of Catholicism a Civic Society, your volunteers as individuals, and your Trustees and
in Ribble Valley Committee.
• Petition calls for quicker action on bridge In addition to the liability cover discussed above, our product includes
repairs a small amount of All Risks Cover for material property up to £5,000,
• Community debate Station Hotel future as well as cover for Money at events, in transit and at the homes of
• Power group set up to save museum committee members.
• Fears for more cherished buildings Charity Trustee Indemnity Insurance is also available and can
• Ribble Valley park bids to win borough’s be added to your insurance package. The principle of this cover is
first Green Flag to protect the trustees and committee members who may be held
• Stag hunt is launched by team behind personally liable for an alleged, innocent or negligent act, a breach of
deer display trust or duty, or for a loss suffered by the society. Common examples
• Old George Mall earmarked for more that may arise are the misappropriation of funds (i.e. where money is
improvements used for projects/development work which is felt inappropriate by the
• £785,000 works planned for Tonbridge donor), breach of the Health and Safety Act, or something as simple as
town lock not keeping adequate minutes of committee meetings.
• Campaigner Mac loses cancer battle For more information on insurance email,
• Complaints over Ripon traffic lights call 0151 231 6908 or see
• Spa paths, gardens set for £5m revamp society-benefits/insurance
• Big decision looms on Stray cycling

Please send your contributions for Grass Roots to 21

What could the
briefing Sustainable
by Peter Eversden
Chair, London Forum
Communities Act
do for your local
The Sustainable Communities Act, another way of making it happen. of powers, responsibilities and funding
which received Royal Assent in There is not yet a clear Government to the local level.
October 2007, enables councils explanation on how the powers The Act creates a duty for
working in cooperation with their covered by the Act relate to the Government to produce a local
communities to get government help processes for Sustainable Community spending report from April 2009 that
to assist them in reversing the decline Strategies, Local Area Agreements details, for each local authority area,
of local services, dealing with fuel (LAA), the Local Government Bill and the amount of public money spent by
poverty, protecting the environment the recent Community Empowerment all relevant agencies (central, regional
and obtaining greater involvement in White Paper. The links that were and local) on services and projects
civic activity. As part of the process supposed to happen between over a given period. It allows Local
they will also be able to formally Community Strategies and Core Authorities to make a request for a
request specific powers, currently Strategies for addressing existing transfer of functions from one person
held by national Government, to quality of life issues by spatial to another (following consultation with
be devolved to them. Government development have not been well the partners). Local Authorities will
then has a legal duty to reach established in many local authorities. need to know just how much extra
agreement with councils and the Local That makes it difficult for community money they might access if they
Government Association (LGA) on representatives and citizens to push for a transfer of functions. The
how it will help them. understand how best to become local authority must establish also, or
The Secretary of State for engaged for resolving the local recognise, a panel of representatives
Communities and Local Government infrastructure and service deficiencies of local persons to be consulted about
is now required to consult local and problems. Depending on how the proposal.
authorities on issues affecting many Councils decide to participate The Act establishes the ability
them. Authorities will in turn consult in the Sustainable Communities Act, of local communities, through
people and organisations in their there may be different opportunities their council, to put forward policy
neighbourhoods, and the results of depending on where people live in suggestions. Any proposals put
these consultations would be fed England. Only three of London’s forward must have regard to:
upwards in order to drive Government boroughs had undertaken, in the
policy. month after the Government invited • Provision of local services, and
The Local Government Act 2000 them, to use the Act and engage local the extent to which the volume and
gave local authorities power to communities in developing ideas for value of goods and services are
undertake any activities that are addressing local problems. produced within 30 miles
considered to have a positive impact Local Government Associations think • Rate of increase in the growth and
on the living experience of their that the Act could give local authorities marketing or organic food
residents. A 2005 DCLG report opportunities to take a leadership • Reasonable access of residents to
suggested that these powers were role in formulating policy and making nutritional food;
not being used. This Act seems to be stronger arguments for the devolution • Number of local jobs;

The organisation LocalWorks has
suggested several proposals for
consideration by local authorities
to develop for use under the
Sustainable Communities Act,
• Keeping essential community
services like Post Offices open;
• Promoting small businesses by
increasing the rate relief they receive;
• Promoting local renewable energy,
e.g. by removing the restrictive barriers
relating to the local grid;
• Promoting local food and other
products, eg by giving rate relief to
businesses that earn 50% of their
• Measures to conserve energy Local authorities will have to turnover selling local food and goods;
and increase the quantity of determine if proposals can be • Powers to levy non-domestic rates
locally supplied energy achieved already under existing on out-of-town car parking spaces
• Measures taken to reduce the legislation, how they contribute to – with a power for the council to allow
level of road traffic sustainability, and what community discounts if the supermarket, or other
• Increase in social inclusion, engagement has been conducted in store, sources a stated percentage of
including an increase in order to ensure the suitability of the goods for sale locally;
involvement in local democracy proposals. • Powers to absorb BusinessLink
• Measures designed to decrease The New Local Government funding in order to drive wider
emissions of greenhouse gases Network has urged local authorities economic development objectives;
• Measures designed to increase to take up the opportunities the Act • Better joining up of regional and
community health and well being provides and to use it to take forward local transport funding with increased
• Planning policies which would proposals. powers to ensure agencies such as
assist with the purposes of the The New Local Government RDAs, Network Rail and the Highways
Act, including new arrangements Network has suggested that Agency have regard to local plans;
for the provision of affordable the Secretary of State for CLG • The ability of local authorities to take
housing should make an explicit statement a more central role in the delivery
• Measures to increase the use of recognising the importance of LAAs, and funding of a localised welfare
local waste materials. and that partners who are found not system, with greater freedom for
The Local Government Association to be contributing appropriately to the JobCentrePlus collaboration and the
must then consider the proposals delivery of these agreements will be local capture of benefits savings;
and, produce a report listing the considered appropriate candidates • A more qualitative Best ‘Added’
proposals chosen for discussion, for the transfer of functions and Value tool to predict the impact of new
those rejected, and why. The LGA, funding. entrants on the local economy and
in cooperation and negotiation with Councillors and officers are to inform planning consent decisions
the Secretary of State, will then supposed to seize control of their based on a range of social, economic
draw up a shortlist of the most viable own destiny, instead of blaming and community benefits that a
ideas to be taken forward. Decisions Central Government for decline in business might bring to an area;
will be made through constructive services and facilities. • The conversion of regeneration
central local dialogue, and this is There will need to be a lot grants into a single, un-ringfenced and
not expected to be a simple Yes/ of guidance prepared for local needs-based grant;
No exercise by Government. The communities to understand how to • Flexibility to adjust local right-to-
Secretary of State must then produce achieve their aims in the new world buy rules and buy-to-let planning
an action plan for implementation of of empowerment and devolution. permission criteria to allow local
these proposals and report annually Links are needed with the way authorities to respond to immediate
on its progress. Proposals supported quality of life issues are addressed local housing concerns
jointly by several local authorities by the policies within Local It is recommended that there should
simultaneously will receive greater Development Frameworks and their be grassroots “brainstorming events”
consideration. achievement. where local communities could
The LGA is to define the way in Peter Eversden, London Forum propose policy reforms. This could fuel
which the Act will operate and the the “double devolution” agenda and
timing of each stage, but it is likely increase pressure on government to
that from October, councils will have • Image extracted from the Civic Trust accept ideas that are firmly rooted in
up to six months to put forward ideas 2008 Annual report “Better Places for local communities.
and for the LGA to review them. People”, out now

Find policy updates and links at 23

Members and societies: please share your copies widely!

Take Action Our Work

There are many ways in which you can get
involved with the work of Civic Societies, no The Civic Trust is the independent
matter who you are or how much time you nationwide network dedicated to helping
have. communities to make better places
in which to live, work and play. We
Whether it’s fighting a local planning decision, campaign for better places for people.
championing local green space or promoting
excellence in design, we can all do something 2007 was the 50th anniversary of the
that will make a lasting difference. You can Civic Trust and, as we move into the next
take action right now below by choosing how generation of our activities, we continue
you want to make a difference. This page to work across four themes: People
highlights some ways you can feel part of the and Places, Better Place in the Built
wider Civic Society movement right now, but Environment, Better Places in the Green
there are plenty of other things you can do to Environment and Policy and Campaigns.
help so visit our individual campaign pages Visit
for more ideas. And if you want to take things The Civic Trust continues to be a
further, contact us. powerful, definite and distinctive voice
to read all about:
which helps communities to imaging,
Join a local Civic Society from over 750 in shape and deliver inspiring places and Policy & Campaigns
the UK; organise fundraising events, write an enduring future. Community work:
letters, raise and donate funds to develop a • Civic Societies
better Civic Society movement, lobby MPs, The Civic Trust will enhance the general • Civic Champions
generate press coverage and much more well-being and quality of lives of people
• Every Action Counts
and communities by working with them
• Join a specialist network to campaign to value, enjoy and provide aesthetic, • Heritage Open Days
individually on your personal areas of interest prosperous and greener place for a • HODs Classroom
• Get Grass Roots, our newsletter for individual sustainable United Kingdom. That is our • BizFizz
activists. vision. • NightVision
• Join our Government consultation network If you would like to support us, please
• High Street
and be part of our mass responses to visit
government on issues effecting us all • Regeneration
• Volunteer for the Civic Trust in London or • Purple Flag
Liverpool or perhaps be a virtual volunteer Built Environment
• If you know about the planning process, you • Civic Trust Awards
could help assess local planning applications.
Civic Societies represent us
all. They are groups of local • Built Environment
Network (BE-Net)
Contact us: people, who, like the Civic • Civic Trust Awards Trust, are passionate about Exhibition
Fifth Floor, Century Building, 31 North John the places in which we all Green Environment
Street, Liverpool L2 6RG.
Tel: 0151 231 6908 Fax: 0151 231 6901
live, work and relax. • Green Flag Award
14-16 Cowcross Street, London. EC1M 6DG • Green Heritage Site
Tel: 020 7539 7900 • Green Pennant Award
www • Community Spaces

The Civic Trust Membership Magazine. Winter - Spring 2009 £4