- Meeting of Buckinghamshire Historic Environment Forum, Monday 4th November 2013 2.00 pm (Item 6.)
Ms Shelia Keene introduced the item and asked members whether the Forum provided a valuable place to discuss issues regarding the Historic Environment or whether this was an opportunity to look for other possible options. Shelia also asked if members did feel the Forum was valuable whether there was a need to amend or review the constitution.
The Chairman advised that Mr Cory Cashman, who was unable to attend the meeting, had sent an email with suggested topics for consideration by the Forum. His suggestions were as follows:
1: Reviewing the constitution. It is around 10 years since the constitution was agreed and I do not think that it has been reviewed in that time – does it fully reflect and have the ability to respond to contemporary realities?
2: Composition of membership. Does the present membership always ensure fully informed responses to every matter discussed? Some of our group have been poor attenders at meetings, often for reasons outside their control. This can handicap the ability of the committee to respond knowledgeably on certain matters in the absence of such members who might otherwise usefully inform these discussions.
3: Relationship with the 5 Buckinghamshire local authorities. How do we see this relationship and what would we say was its purpose? How well do we communicate to them what we do? Is this communication patchy both in terms of time and geography?
4: Frequency of meetings.
Cory had said that he felt consideration of the issues needed to be supported by appropriate additional information to help inform the discussions and suggested these and any other similar matters could be discussed at the Spring meeting in 2014.
Mr Richard Pushman referred to the Constitution for the Forum and said that he didn’t think the objects had changed and was still worthwhile. He suggested that the objects could however be more rigorously and consistently followed. Richard suggested that the membership and representation could be reconsidered. He queried the reason for having voting and non-voting members and said he thought this needed to be reviewed. He also suggested that information sharing could be improved.
Ms Sarah-Jane Farr highlighted the importance of effective advocacy and said that members had various experience and skills which could be effectively used for the Historic Environment.
It was highlighted that meetings needed to be focused and outcome based as officers are increasingly challenged about their attendance at meetings. It was commented that if officers received a presentation or attended a site visit it may be easier to justify attendance at meetings with employers as there is added value and also useful for CPD. It was commented that the expertise of the different members was important as those members could inform discussions.
Shelia asked if there was any value in having more interactive meetings and asked if this should be explored further. Shelia said if the Forum was able to inject vigour and purpose it could provide a rationale for the Forum continuing. Mr Nick Crank said that Milton Keynes Council would be happy to host a future meeting and said that a walk and talk could be arranged.
The Chairman enquired if the District Councils had Heritage Champions. In response it was commented that South Bucks and Chiltern District Councils did not have Heritage Champions. The representative from Milton Keynes Council said that they had a Heritage Champion who they wanted to provide training for and said they could invite the Heritage Champion to the Forum if there was agreement.
The Chairman summarised what he saw as the key issues as follows:
1. Committee and general advocacy of heritage as a whole
2. Interactive sessions based on localities to be used as an educational session.
He said that these issues fell within the remit of the Forum.
Mr Warren Whyte was interested in any impact that the New National Planning Framework (NNPF) had on heritage and how the Council members are dealing with applications.
All members felt that reports from members were important to enable effective information sharing. It was agreed papers should be circulated electronically in future.
Shelia suggested that the Spring meeting could be held outside County Hall at another location. Members discussed areas of the County that might be interesting to visit and it was suggested that members could visit Stoke Mandeville old church to discuss the issues surrounding large linear development schemes. Members agreed (arrangements permitting) to visit Stoke Mandeville old church for the next meeting.
Richard updated members on Quarrendon Leas. He highlighted that he is Chairman of the Buckinghamshire Conservation Trust and said that the Trust is in the process of acquiring Quarrendon Leas. It is hoped that a transfer of ownership will be achieved by the end of the year. He said that once the land is acquired there will be a need for a work programme as the church ruin is deteriorating further. He highlighted that the Trust had lost a LEADER grant due to the delays in the transfer and said that help is needed to make the site suitable for public visitors.
It was suggested that future agenda items could include:
1. Re-laying stone sets and street de-cluttering in Aylesbury
2. Quarrendon Leas Management
Members were reminded that were any changes to the Terms of Reference proposed, 28 days’ notice would need to be given to members and the proposed amendments would need to be circulated 21 clear days’ in advance.