Planning Advice Note PAN 71: Conservation Area Management
Funding and Resources
The Scottish Executive provides around 14.5 million each year to help offset the cost of the care, repair and conservation of the historic environment. This is administered through Historic Scotland and a significant proportion is targeted to conservation area enhancement. Grants are awarded for the comprehensive repair of key buildings. Town schemes also operate in a number of outstanding conservation areas and provide grants for small scale repairs to property.
Significant parts of Scotland's urban areas are covered by City Heritage Trusts, which benefit from a combined annual grant from Historic Scotland of around 2.6 million. Additional funding is provided from local authorities and a range of other sources. Active Heritage Trusts also exist in Perth and Kinross, New Lanark and Dumfries and Galloway. These can operate local grant schemes and co-ordinate a range of other activity to promote, safeguard and enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas. Their staff are an important source of advice on funding for conservation.
The Heritage Lottery Fund also contributes significant amounts of money to area conservation projects, particularly through its Townscape Heritage Initiative which focuses on the regeneration of conservation areas that face economic or social problems. The Heritage Lottery Fund generally meets up to 50% of a comprehensive and concentrated programme of building repairs, reinstatement of architectural detail, re-use of vacant floorspace, appropriate filling of key gap sites and conservation and enhancement of the public realm, all based on a conservation area appraisal and action plan. Match funding is generally provided by a combination of grants from Historic Scotland, the local authority, local enterprise company, European Regional Development Fund and Communities Scotland.
Building Preservation Trusts also play a significant role in overcoming the challenges presented by buildings at risk and adding value to wider management strategies. Building Preservation Trusts can access loans and grants to tackle development projects on a 'revolving fund' basis where a market solution is not possible. Through developing a relationship with a Building Preservation Trust, a local authority can manage the financial risks associated with urgent works notices, repair notices and compulsory purchase orders. The work of Building Preservation Trusts can also be a catalyst for wider regeneration.
The recently published "Sources of Financial Help for Scotland's Historic Buildings", published by the Scottish Civic Trust on behalf of Historic Scotland, provides advice on a range of other funding possibilities. The Architectural Heritage Fund sponsored website www.fundsforhistoricbuildings.org.uk is another useful source of information.
Although in recent years resources have become fairly limited, local authorities have powers to make grants and loans for the improvement of conservation areas. Good examples of initiatives which have won external validation include Lesmahagow (1985) and Biggar (with Scottish Civic Trust) (1975) for European Architectural Year and more recently with the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning for West Wemyss, Fife and Crighton Campus, Dumfries.
Where no dedicated funds exist for conservation area enhancement, it is still possible to achieve outcomes and deliver conservation policies through influencing and aligning the spend of other agencies and organisations with a clearly communicated vision for the area.
Increasing numbers of Development Trusts are being established and can play a useful role in conservation area management. Development Trusts are community-led enterprises which seek to bring about social, economic and environmental change for the better. They can, for example, be set up to acquire and manage a historic building or historic community asset. Further information about Development Trusts can be found at www.dta.org.uk
Given that there are over 600 conservation areas, competition will be high in securing financial assistance. Applications for funding which are accompanied by supporting documents such as townscape audits and conservation area appraisals will strengthen the basis of any grant application.
The following table lists some of the sources of funding available: