Policy Round-up: February 2019
It might only be February, but what a busy start to the year it's been. While Brexit negotiations continue to dominate the headlines, we've been keeping in close contact with civil servants and breaking down the key information for Historic Houses places. We have highlighted a number of advice sheets and information portals that the Government has produced, and we will continue to keep our member houses up to speed as and when new guidance is produced.
In the meantime, there's been plenty going on at Historic Houses HQ. This month saw our sold-out education seminar taking place in Chatsworth's new education space, the Old Potting Shed. The day brought together both member houses that are looking to expand their education offering, and those that are considering embarking on learning activities for the first time. Delegates heard from our fantastic Learning Advisory panel and colleagues from University of Oxford and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as inspiring examples from member houses Chatsworth, Powderham Castle, Bell House and Kelmarsh Hall.
February has also been a busy month for consultations. We responded to the Historic Environment Scotland consultation on draft guidance on the demolition of listed buildings, and the reuse and adaptation of listed buildings. The DCMS consultation ‘Strengthening the Process for Retaining National Treasures’ proposed some changes to the export licensing process. We felt the proposed changes were hugely disproportionate, and our response reminded DCMS of the lack of funding for repair and maintenance at independently owned historic houses, which often results in items and collections being offered for sale to fund urgent work.
Looking ahead to the spring, we have our fingers crossed that good weather will be on the horizon as MPs visit our member houses as part of the annual English Tourism Week constituency day on 5 April. If your house is planning an event during English Tourism Week, which runs from 30 March to 7 April, or you would like more information about it, there is still time to upload your event to the dedicated VisitBritain page.
Emma and Polly, the policy team