Buntingford Civic Society Buntingford Civic Voice
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Issue 7, March 2011
Civic Voice - talking civic sense

your voice

www.civicvoice.org.uk | 0151 708 9920 | info@civicvoice.org.uk | @civic_voice


Civic Voice is almost a year old and this issue of your voice brings news of our first year and opportunities for you to shape our second. We also have more details on the advantages of joining Civic Voice, including an improved insurance scheme for civic societies at a lower cost and a new partnership providing free access for civic society members to English Heritage properties. We are looking forward to meeting many of you at the two Spring Network events in Manchester (19 March) and Reading (26 March) – book now as places are filling fast.

In this issue

Our first year

Whether it be the 275 civic societies who have joined or the 1,050 enquiries we’ve handled on our help desk or the 27 workshops for civic volunteers or the 10,000+ civic society members who have enjoyed a free day out at the National Trust or even the 5 national television appearances there is no doubt things have been busy since we launched last April. With so much going on it is easy to lose track of what has been done and so we have pulled together a short two page leaflet of Our first year as a reminder.

Take a look at Our first year here

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Spring Network events in Manchester and Reading

Places at the two Spring Network events for civic volunteers are filling up fast and we have some exciting plans. Our President Griff Rhys Jones is already drafting his thoughts to introduce a keynote discussion on what matters to the civic movement and how we can develop our “common voice”. We are also expecting important contributions from Planning Minister Greg Clark (not in person) and he has promised to respond personally to your questions on planning and localism. This is all in addition to workshops being run by volunteers from different civic societies to share ideas and their experience on issues that matter to all of us. Each day will be rounded off by walking tours of the area led by local experts.

Spring Network North– Friends Meeting House, central Manchester - Saturday 19th March – chaired by Freddie Gick, Civic Voice Deputy Chair

Spring Network South- Reading Town Hall – Saturday March 26th – chaired by John Walker, Civic Voice trustee

There will be a £10 charge to cover refreshments and each day will run from 10.30am till 4pm and be followed by a walking tour.

Register for one of the Spring Network events here

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New insurance scheme

We are delighted to confirm arrangements for the new insurance scheme for civic societies. This offers much better cover at improved premiums from last yeear and 13 months cover for the price of 12. The new scheme is being provided by Lockton and underwritten by RSA (formerly Royal and Sun Alliance).

The Basic scheme with cover for your trustees and professional indemnity is £40 (16%) less than last year’s equivalent Light scheme from Bluefin and the more popular Broad scheme with extra cover is £55 (18%) cheaper than Bluefin’s Comprehensive. This includes a doubling of the cover available in relation to both personal accidents and property. Extra cover is available on request. We have also streamlined the process so you can take out your insurance at the same time as joining or renewing your membership of Civic Voice. Your insurance will run from 1 April 2011 till end April 2012.

Details of the new civic society scheme with Lockton have been sent to all civic societies and can also be obtained from info@civicvoice.org.uk on request. There is also information on our website here

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Civic survey

You should have received a copy of our first annual civic survey inviting you to respond online by the end of March. The survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. This is your opportunity to tell us what you think of Civic Voice and what more we could be doing to support you in the future. It will also tell us more about the civic movement and be a chance for you to tell us your priorities for its future. Everyone returning a survey form will be entered into a prize draw to receive one of five signed copies of Civic Voice President Griff Rhys Jones’ book Rivers.

If you have any questions about the survey or are unable to complete it online then please contact ian.harvey@civicvoice.org.uk or ring him on 0151 708 9920.

Complete your civic survey here

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English Heritage partnership

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with English Heritage. This will mean that every member of a civic society which joins Civic Voice will be offered a free day pass to use at any of its properties. Details of how to obtain a free pass will be provided to your local civic society after it has joined. The voucher can be used between 1 April and 30 June and between 1 September and 31 January 2012 and is not transferable. This partnership is in addition to that with the National Trust which continues – so you will be able to enjoy two free days out courtesy of Civic Voice.

Find out more about English Heritage’s properties here.

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Civic Voice membership

Your civic society will have recently received details of how to renew or join Civic Voice in 2011 – 12. We are pleased that the membership fees will remain unchanged next year and there are extra advantages from membership. The fee remains at £1.50 per member up to a maximum of £500 and is not increased as we had expected it would be. This reflects our growing membership and we anticipate this growing further in 2011. We have already had a flood of enquiries from civic societies wishing to join for the first time.

Full details of the advantages of Civic Voice membership and a membership form are available here

We also welcome individual membership of Civic Voice which is just £10 and details can be found here

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What matters to the civic movement?

There are so many issues that civic societies get involved in and we are keen to know which of them matter the most to you. Spend a minute registering your vote in our online poll at Civic Voice’s website here

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Live consultations

We are regularly approached to inform official consultations and inquiries and want to represent the civic movement as effectively as we can. A new Live consultations page has been set up on the website to help you know which are the most important and to invite your views and feedback. Please let us know what you think so we can raise your voice. This page will be constantly updated so keep an eye on it or use an RSS feed to be informed of changes.

Find the Live consultations page here

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Planning Panel

We have been delighted by the response to the requests to come forward to be invited to our new Planning Panel. This will support and advise staff on the development of Civic Voice’s views on changes to planning policy and legislation. It will also provide a link to our Board. Volunteers from around the country with a good mix of planning expertise and lay interests have already come forward and we will be confirming the arrangements shortly. If you would like to be invited to join the Planning Panel then please get in touch at info@civicvoice.org.uk with a short summary of why you are interested and what skills and experience you bring.

We have also had an excellent response to the request to fill the role of Chair of the Planning Panel. The applications were considered by Paula Ridley (Chair) and Freddie Gick (Deputy Chair) and Dave Chetwyn has been selected. Dave is Chair of the Potteries Heritage Society and has a wide planning and community experience. This includes as Head of Planning Aid England and Chair of both the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (the professional network for conservation officers and other conservation professionals) and an architecture and built environment centre, Urban Vision North Staffordshire. He is a self employed planning consultant.

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Welcome to twitter

There are four new civic additions to the world of twitter

  • Ainsdale Civic Society @ainsdaleinfo
  • Blackpool Civic Trust @BlackpoolCivic
  • London Forum @London_Forum
  • Margate Civic Society @MargateCivicSoc

Why not join them – it only takes a moment to sign up at www.twitter.com and your message will reach hundreds of new followers

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Civic Voice talks

Tony Burton and Ian Harvey are always keen to meet and speak at civic society events. In the next few months we will be speaking at:

  • 7th March – Clitheroe Civic Society (Ian Harvey)
  • 8th March – Beverley and District Civic Society (Tony Burton)
  • 10th March – Stockport Heritage Forum (Ian Harvey)
  • 21st March – Blackpool Civic Trust (Paula Ridley)
  • 29th March – London Forum (Paula Ridley & Tony Burton)
  • 9th April – Cockermouth Civic Trust (Ian Harvey)
  • 11th April – Aireborough Civic Society (Ian Harvey)
  • 12th April – Farnborough Society (Tony Burton)
  • 14th April – Epsom Protection Society (Tony Burton)
  • 27th April - Ainsdale Civic Society (Ian Harvey)
  • 19th May – Potters Bar Society (Tony Burton)
  • 24th May – Bristol Civic Society (Tony Burton)
  • 3rd June – Surrey civic societies (hosted by CPRE Surrey)

Contact info@civicvoice.org.uk or the local civic society if you want to attend.

Tony Burton is also speaking at a number of national conferences for the Historic Towns Forum, Institute of Historic Building Conservation, Royal Town Planning Institute, Association of Preservation Trusts and others. These include speaking at an event organised being led by Opun, the architecture centre for the East Midlands, at De Montfort University, Leicester on Neighbourhoods and Localism. Details of the event on Monday 28th March can be found here

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Coastal conference

A special civic society conference is being organised in Worthing on Saturday 18 June. This is being hosted by Worthing Civic Society. It will be an important event for all those civic societies dealing with the changing fortunes of our coastline and coastal town. Click here for more information.

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Case studies

Cockermouth Recovery

In November 2009, Cockermouth town centre was devastated by floods with the Main Street and its associated buildings and shops under water up to 8 feet deep.

Cockermouth Civic Trust has played a key role in dealing with the aftermath and turning things around. Instead of just clearing things up Cockermouth has taken this opportunity to improve on its proud Georgian heritage and revitalise its high street.

Read Cockermouth's story here

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Peterborough Buildings of Local Importance Initiative

Peterborough Civic Society and Peterborough City Council are working together to prepare a revised list of Buildings of Local Importance (BLI) for the district.

Read more about Peterborough's local listing

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Nantwich tackles clutter

Nantwich Civic Society has completed an important survey of the town and revealed just how cluttered and neglected some places can get. As well as unearthing sunken paving stones, broken bollards and scruffy shop fronts they found over 30 A-boards and a host of unnecessary signing. The campaign has attracted support from the local paper and the local borough and town councils and inspired new volunteers to come forward and take action.

Read more about Nantwich's campaign

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