Minister Congratulates The Civic Trust
Dawn Primarolo MP, Secretary of State for Public Health helped the Civic Trust to launch our new Purple Flag Accreditation Scheme at a very successful event in London on July 1st. The Minister welcomed our work in this area and commended the Civic Trust for our key role in "supporting the work of creating living cities, living town centres and living spaces." Purple Flag will be the new "gold standard" for town and city centres at night. It is a completely fresh approach to nightlife, linked to the standards that people expect from their town centres at night.
The main aims of Purple Flag are:
We already have over 45 local authorities who are interested in becoming involved and four, Westminster, Kingston upon Thames, Bath and North East Somerset and Bournemouth, have already signed up to become our first "pathfinder authorities"
If you are interested in how Purple Flag could help your own area please contact Hannah Mummery by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Davies email@example.com
Grass Roots Quarterly Available Online now!
The latest issue of Grass Roots Quarterly, the Civic Trust membership magazine exclusive to Civic Societies, is now available to download from the Civic Societies website.
As well as the regular updates from Peter Bembridge, Philip Kolvin, and the Regional Associations, the magazine also includes pieces from Civic Societies who have written case studies about their activities.
If you would like to download a PDF verson of Grass Roots Quarterly please click here
The Civic Trust Awards Team are Recruiting New Local Advisors for the 2008 Awards
Launched in 1959, The Civic Trust Awards is one of the oldest built environment award schemes in Europe. From cafes and churches to housing and hospitals, the Civic Trust has rewarded over 5,500 buildings which have made a difference to local people and their communities by providing the design and facilities which have made better places for people.
All the entries are judged by a local team, which includes an architect, inclusive design assessor, local authority co-ordinator and local advisor.
The local advisor is someone who usually comes from a Civic Society and is interested in architecture but is not necessarily qualified as an architect or planner. You will be required to canvass the opinion of the users of the schemes entered and make this knowledge known to the assessment team on the day of judging. If you are interested in getting involved in the judging please click here
What is BizFizz?
BizFizz is a programme designed to regenerate communities from the bottom up by helping potential entrepreneurs create viable enterprises and helping existing enterprises to survive and grow. This approach encourages people to realise their dreams in a supported environment at the heart of their community. It develops a sense of self-reliance and 'can do' in the community, building local confidence and self-esteem. At the Civic Trust working in partnership with nef (The New Economics Foundation) we have looked at existing measures to encourage business start-ups and support small businesses in the UK. A great many approaches are adopted including advice, counselling and mentoring, training in business skills, the provision of infrastructure such as premises, provision of grant and loan finance. All of these approaches are valuable but we concluded that something more was needed to make a difference, particularly in communities suffering from deprivation and economic decline. If you would like to find out more about BizFizz why not access the Starter Pack by clicking here to receive a copy.
Cut the VAT Campaign
On Thursday 26th June 2008 Kate Hoey MP (Labour) and Bob Russell MP (Liberal Democrat) joined members of the Cut the VAT Campaign to deliver a 10,000 strong peittion to Number 11 Downing Street, calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cut VAT from 17.5 per cent to 5 per cent on all building repair and maintenance work. The demand to cut VAT comes at a time when the Government is failing to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050; when the number of people living in fuel poverty is rising from the current figure of 4.5 million; and when thousands of consumers are being fleeced by rogue traders offering cash deals to avoid VAT on home improvements.
The Civic Trust is a member of the Cut the VAT Campaign. To see how you can help to reduce VAT click here
The Planning Bill - Update
The Government appear determined to bulldoze this through, and have taken on board none of the amendments urged by the Better Planning Coalition, of which the Civic Trust is a member, representing 5 million people. It has not, unexpectedly, cleared the Commons, so the last battle must be fought in the Lords. With this in mind, the Coalition held a briefing for Peers at the House last week. While only a few were able to attend, there appears to be considerable interest in the key issues of democratic accountability, the right to be heard, and sustainable development, none of which are in the Independent Planning Commission's (IPC) brief.
It therefore remains critical that Civic Trust members continue to apply pressure for changes on members of the House of Lords whom they know, either directly through personal contacts or via their MPs.
To view the full Planning Bill update by Michael Hammerson click here
To view the latest briefing from The Planning Coalition, click here