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View From the Chair



It was good to see so many new and familiar faces at the winter meeting in Edinburgh.  Looking through past issues of HER News I realised that it had been six years since the last meeting in Edinburgh, so it was interesting to hear about developments and new projects taking place in Scotland. As someone with a GIS populated with monument points, I was particularly interested in the work the RCAHMS is undertaking on a pan-Scotland standard for mapping polygons. Hopefully we will be able to get an update on this and progress on the Scotland Rural Development Programme at a future meeting. Thanks to all our speakers, both north and south of the border, to Nick Davis for organising everything, and hopefully we will be back in Scotland for another meeting in the not too distant future.


Whilst all was bright and sunny outside the meeting perhaps the mood inside for some was a little darker due to the exclusion of the Heritage Protection Bill from the Queen’s Speech the previous week (Scottish Ministers are to consult on a draft Heritage Bill later this year).  Although not a complete surprise it is still very disappointing considering the work that has gone into the Bill and how long we’ve been waiting for something like it to be introduced.  Still both the Government and the Welsh Assembly have stated their commitment to the Historic Protection Reform, so there is hope that the Bill may be introduced at some date in the near future, and that in the meantime support for HERs will be included in the new Planning Bill and PPS15. In England EH is continuing to look for ways to development and take forward the reform proposals, and to support local authorities in enhancing their HERs in various ways, so thanks to all of you who contributed to the recent request for SMR-HER development case studies.


Given the publicity the Heritage Protection Reform has received over the last few years it is important that we do not lose the momentum that has built up around it, and continue to look for new ways of engaging with customers and particularly conservation officers. The Edinburgh afternoon presentations, and the panel discussion that followed, I think, showed that contacts with conservation officers varies from Record to Record although many of us have begun to look at ways of improving cooperation and data exchange. As potentially one of our most important stakeholders perhaps this is something that we need to consider on a more regular basis at future meetings? If anyone has an idea for a session on this, or any other topic, at I’m sure Nick would be interested to hear from you.  See you in Huntingdon on the 9th July.



See the Programme below for links to the presentations given at the meeting.


 Building Anticipation

 A Ruse to Muse Aboot the Hoose


Historic Environment Records Forum Winter Meeting

11th December 2008, Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Street, Edinburgh   




10:30  Coffee


11:00  Stuart Cakebread (Greater London SMR) - Welcome from the Chair


11:10  Susan Casey and Mike Middleton (RCAHMS) – The State of Things to Come: Towards the development of a pan-Scotland standard for mapping polygons


11:40  Andrew Burke and Miles Oglethorpe (Historic Scotland) – The Scotland Rural Development Programme


12:10  Martin Newman (English Heritage) – PastScape: Audiences, Usability and Enhancement


12:35  Robin Page (English Heritage) – Auditing the Monuments Business Area of the NMR AMIE Database


13:00  Buffet Lunch


Buildings Recording: HERs and their links with Conservation Officers


Perspectives from three speakers followed by panel discussion:


14:00  Stuart Cakebread (Greater London SMR)


14.10  Dr Beryl Lott (Lincolnshire HER)


14.20  James Dinn (Worcester City HER)


14.30  Panel Discussion       


15:00 Tea


15:20  Phil Carlisle (English Heritage): The English Heritage Knowledge Organisation System (EHKOS)


16:00  Round-up and close