IHBC writes:

The Victorian Society (Vic Soc) has published its survey of the most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales, highlighting the continuing plight of architecturally important buildings throughout the country despite signs of economic recovery, while also calling for the VAT on repairs to privately owned homes to be cut to 5% so that fewer historic buildings fall victim to neglect.

The Victoria Society writes:
The Victorian Society has revealed the Top Ten Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales 2014 following a national appeal for nominations. All the buildings listed are in real risk of being lost if action is not taken in the immediate future. The Society is also calling for the VAT on repairs to privately owned homes to be cut to 5% so that fewer historic buildings fall victim to neglect. (more…)

Newsletter Draft Autumn 2014.qxdThe autumn HCS newsletter is out next week and members will be receiving their copies through their doors soon.

This month we round up the AGM with a full report and also offer updates on the on-going bus station saga, the Goods Yard site, the vulnerability of the Hexham Green Belt and more.

We also report the recent exhibition by University of Newcastle students at the Forum Cinema (31/07-08/08).

The Summer edition of the newsletter is now freely available to download here:

HCS Newsletter Summer 2014 email version

Heritage Open Days will be taking place nationally and locally from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th of September 2014. Heritage sites will open their doors for free to reveal their hidden historical gems.

Heritage Open Days is in its 20th year and is England’s biggest and most popular voluntary cultural event. Attractions include bus trails, photography exhibitions, tours, walks and talks that bring to life local history and culture.

The aim is for all residents and visitors to discover some of the county’s hidden heritage treasures, for free. This is part of a national dedication to England’s architecture and heritage. Hexham open days are as below but please see here for Northumberland’s broader list of openings. (more…)

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment – Notice of site assessment consultation 

Northumberland County Council is consulting on draft site assessments for future housing – the SHLAA.

In order to boost significantly the supply of housing, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local planning authorities to prepare this document which:

  • Identifies sites with potential for housing;
  • Assesses how many dwellings may be accommodated on a site with potential for housing development; and
  • Assesses when sites are likely to be developed.
  • The information is available at http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/shlaa

A member of HCS Committee has taken a preliminary look at the sites suggested for Hexham. It seems particularly unfortunate that many infill sites have been considered “unsuitable” for housing, and the reason most frequently cited is the paucity of access. By ‘access’, the County Council is referring to ‘vehicular access’, and yet no such assessment is made of these same sites as to whether they are safe for pedestrian and cyclist access. It seems the SHLAA has been driven by developers’ desire to develop easy, out-of-town and greenbelt sites, and the County’s obsession with the car as the apparent only means of transport, when the size and nature of our historic market town make both cycling and walking easy and desirable.

For example, several central Hexham previously developed ‘brownfield’ sites are considered unsuitable because of the steep road and poor sightlines. Isn’t this true of most of the existing homes in the central core of Hexham? And yet people manage. These arguments seem bogus and designed to ensure that Hexham will continue to approve only greenfield ribbon development, biting into our greenbelt and making residents of the area more and more car dependent.

Even with the Police Station site, the statement suggests that the ‘access’ (read vehicular access) onto “busy” Shaftoe Leazes restricts development. And yet the Farmways site east of Hexham indicates “good direct access” – onto a 60mph road!

If you would like to have your say on the SHLAA, there is a form to download at the web address above, or phone the Planning Office at County Hall on 01670 623635 or 01670 623630 before Wednesday 24 September 2014.

Please feel free to print and circulate this poster and please attend our MA Poster 2014 September HCS Exhibitionstudent’s exhibition on the Hexham Workhouse site and the greenfield Craneshaugh site 1-6th September. Please note the presentation by the Course Tutor to which all are invited is now at 3pm on Friday 5th September.  A PDF of the poster can be downloaded here: Poster 2014 September HCS Exhibition.

A Different Class

MA Student’s ideas for greenfield and brownfield sites in Hexham

- Former Hexham Union Workhouse & Craneshaugh Greenfield Housing site

1st – 6th September 2014

Scott’s Cafe, Forum Cinema, Hexham

Following the approval of 122 new houses on the greenfield housing site at Craneshaugh, and the continued potential of the ‘brownfield’ former Hexham workhouse site on Dean Avenue, MA students at the University of Newcastle have looked afresh at both sites – presenting design concepts that challenge our expectations of how these important sites should be delivered. While the Craneshaugh site is already approved for housing following a planning application in 2013, it will be interesting to see what alternative concepts for a large greenfield site could look like.

You are cordially invited to visit the exhibition throughout its week. We are also holding a presentation and discussion of the work on Friday 5th September at 3pm where MA Urban Design Course Tutor Georgia Giannopoulou will summarise the student’s output and discuss the potential of these important sites.

Presentation and Refreshments

3pm Friday 5th September,

Scott’s Cafe, Hexham

free entry


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