2012 Yearbook

R E V I E W 13 $)"*3 4 3&7*&8 JO EVANS, IHBC CHAIR Writing this piece for the Yearbook is an odd experience in a way. It is somewhat similar to the feeling one gets on New Year’s Eve when forced to look back on the old year as part of the consideration of the new year ahead. This can be a satisfying and happy experience and help to galvanise the spirit in preparation for the future. I like to think the Yearbook forms part of my personal galvanisation. As in previous years, we probably need a little galvanising as it has been a full and busy one for the IHBC and the work has been relentless, as have the e"orts of sta" and volunteers. Since the last Yearbook , the government has had a full year to introduce its vision of planning and consequently for the historic environment. We have been bombarded with policy changes and shifts in emphasis against a backdrop of increasing public sector cuts and a continuing contraction in the development industry. Many of our members have had a tough year. Cuts in local authority resources have meant that conservation o!cers have found themselves at the uncomfortable end of the scaling down and reduction of local government services. In SFTQPOTF B XFC CBTFE HVJEF UP help those members who find that their positions feel less secure was prepared. This is called Why planning authorities must have conservation skills XXX JICD PSH VL TLJMMT mOBM IUNM This resource is designed to help members present a case for the retention of conservation services. We hope that this will help JOnVFODF EFDJTJPO NBLFST BOE MFBE them to recognise that our work is an investment in the future and not a drain on scarce resources. The web page includes a statement that details the vast range of work we do, identifying in particular the PGUFO PWFSMPPLFE TUBUVUPSZ EVUJFT PG conservation teams. The statement also sets out how heritage investment supports civil society and economic growth. It makes the point that our built heritage is the overriding reason why people visit the UK and that tourism makes a huge contribution to the economy in terms of wealth and jobs. I hope this resource has been of use to members in both the public and private sectors. The national political background to our work continues to change at a dizzying speed. This year we face the prospect of another radical change to the policy background to our work. In England the National 1MBOOJOH 1PMJDZ 'SBNFXPSL /11' will probably have been published by UIF UJNF ZPV SFBE UIJT (PWFSONFOU ministers assure us that all the protection and support for the historic environment that is contained within PPS' will be transferred into the new framework. It will be a supreme FYBNQMF PG DPOEFOTBUJPO JO UIBU DBTF However, how many of us SFNFNCFS UIF UJNF CFGPSF 11(T BOE national guidance? We did survive without it. The crucial thing is to have professionals in place who are TVĐDJFOUMZ DBQBCMF BOE FYQFSJFODFE to weigh up the issues and secure an appropriate outcome. There is a philosophical divide here. Some consider the national guidance essential and a bulwark against the tide of unsuitable development and change. Others believe that strict policy and procedures compromise our professionalism and make those fine, ‘on balance’, pragmatic decisions di!cult. I am not going to plunge into that philosophical debate; it is enough to say that this is the position the government considers the correct one and so we should endeavour to do our best with it. Nevertheless, the IHBC is not a wholly compliant and supine PSHBOJTBUJPO XJUI PVS NFNCFSTIJQ this is never going to be very likely JT JU 5IF DPOTVMUBUJPOT QBOFM IBT continued its robust, intellectually rigorous and unrelenting mission to scrutinise policy changes, government consultations and political shifts. A trawl through the list of the panel’s Jo Evans chairing the 2011 AGM