2010 Yearbook

3 Foreword This time last year I was looking forward to the Annual School at Buxton and I have to say we were not disappointed – even the weather lived up to expectations. Now it is the turn of the London Branch who will not be the last to use the by-line ‘Going for Gold’ as we run up to the Olympics. It is easy to enjoy these highlights of the IHBC year without really appreciating the months and even years that are put into the preparations by the unsung volunteers of our branches. Some even manage to pop out their regional conferences on the way. The organisational capacity of our branches to deliver high quality events, newsletters and guidance is one of the Institute’s greatest strengths. As ever, though, too much is done by too few and the generosity of volunteering can easily be strained. So, if you are new to the IHBC or new to your branch, do get in touch – there is always room to contribute time and talents, as well as the modest subscription. We know that there are new faces because the last year saw an important milestone in our membership. At the outset of the institute, the aim of getting to 2,000 members by the year 2000 was possibly too ambitious. Now, however, we have reached our second millennium and we are well over 2,010 in 2010. More important perhaps is the fact that 20 per cent of our membership has joined within the last two years. This is a very healthy indicator of vitality, which is paralleled by our equally positive age and gender profiles. When Baroness Andrews spoke at the Guildford Annual School, she was very surprised to find so many women in the heritage sector. Clearly, we are confounding expectations. The IHBC has never been afraid of punching above its weight, and increasing numbers give us more strength to do so. When I spoke to the new president of the Royal Town Planning Institute about the effectiveness of our partnership in responding to the draft of what was then PPS15, she generously said ‘ Ah, but you did all the work! ’ And there’s the point: we have a formidable network of expertise mobilised through an active branch and committee structure, but partnership with the RTPI brought the weight of another 22,000 members. Of course, a gathering reputation for responsiveness simply draws in more consultations. This places an increasing burden of coordination on James Caird, our consultations consultant – another unsung hero. Fortunately, he seems to shoulder this with an air of quiet efficiency. Nonetheless, we will be looking for further partners to help us make our voice heard on other topics. The triumph of consultation can be seen in the very positive progress made between the draft PPS15 and the published PPS5, which would not have happened without the coordinated engagement of the heritage sector. The next year will see us adjusting to the new vocabulary of heritage assets measured by their significance. There is much to do if we are to ensure that the new emphasis on significance is delivered as effectively as the ‘familiar and cherished’ policies of the past. The IHBC is well aware of the perils that lie ahead, particularly in local authorities, and will do all it can to help. If we can just hold on to some resources, a downturn is a great time to get our respective houses in order. Of course, the IHBC Yearbook is the first aid to being more efficient. Use it to keep informed and keep in touch. And, as the proverbial swan glides into another successful year, my thanks go to all those who are paddling furiously out of sight below the water. Eddie Booth IHBC President