Policy Round-up: August 2019

  • 02 Sep 2019
  • Article

August has been a month of heatwaves, house visits and, of course, high drama in Westminster as we look towards September and MPs’ return from the summer recess.

We’ve spent some of the summer recess out on the road, visiting a variety of our house members during their peak visitor season. We started in the Western Lake District catching up with the team at Muncaster Castle, including taking in their latest mini-exhibition marking two hundred years since the Peterloo Massacre. At Browsholme Hall in Lancashire we saw how newly installed glamping pods have been enhancing their weddings business, whilst at Chatsworth in Derbyshire we discussed their ambitious new learning strategy with Head of the Devonshire Educational Trust, Gill Hart. Burton Constable Hall near Hull was our final stop, where we met with the curator and volunteers to discuss their programming for next year, and enjoyed a sneak peek in the archives to mark the publication of a new catalogue of Capability Brown’s architectural drawings – including six from Burton Constable.

We’ve also been busy responding to various consultations during August, including calls for evidence on sustainable tourism and the expansion of fibre optic broadband, for which we highlighted the need for improved public transport links and high-speed broadband to connect and develop businesses in rural areas. Meanwhile, we have continued our work with Historic England and the Historic Environment Planning Reform Group to push forward a series of sector-led changes to the Listed Building Consent system, which would make the process more simple, efficient and consistent for everyone involved. 

Also this month we’ve been liaising closely with officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as they continue planning for the UK’s exit from the EU. House members can login here to find the latest advice on preparing for EU exit via our Brexit advice page, and look out for more on this in September’s house members’ e-newsletter. House members with particular concerns about preparing for EU exit can email us if unsure where to find the advice they’re after.

As summer draws to a close, we are gearing up for another round of national and regional AGMs throughout the autumn. The Historic Houses team will be out and about meeting with house members across the UK, starting in Northern Ireland next week. Concurrently we are busy keeping a watchful eye on the political developments this week’s return of MPs to Westminster may bring, and preparing for what looks set to be a tumultuous and intensely busy season for public affairs.

Last but definitely not least, we invite you to read our Historic Houses Attingham Scholar’s reflections on her experience at ‘country house summer school’. Philippa Wood, Curator at Burton Constable Hall, was the second recipient of the Historic Houses Attingham Trust Scholarship following its launch last summer. She has written an illuminating post for us about her time at the famous summer school. We will be opening applications for the 2020 Historic Houses Attingham Scholarship in the autumn. If you’re living or working at a Historic Houses member property, have a grounding in some aspect of country house scholarship and are interested in applying for the Historic Houses Attingham Scholarship, please get in touch.

Emma and Lydia, the policy team

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