The proposal to divide English Heritage and create a new public sector charity to look after heritage sites is an innovative and interesting one.
Today’s announcement of an additional £5 million funding towards English Heritage is a welcome early response to concerns about the level of funding and offsets the cut announced in the autumn statement yesterday.
Our priority is to see the new charity and the heritage protection agency continue as strong partners in looking after our country’s heritage. To achieve this, the National Trust will engage with Government in the consultation to ensure that these plans deliver the funding, the resources and the capabilities to protect our heritage for the nation in the long term.
So during the consultation we will be considering the following key questions:
- Will the new charity’s business model prove financially sustainable and ensure that the new body is able to meet the conservation challenge of looking after over 400 historic sites for the long term?
- Will the level of government financing into the future of the new public heritage body enable it to retain English Heritage’s expertise and its capacity to underpin the work of the wider sector in protecting our historic fabric?
- Will either of the new bodies still be able to act as the owner or funder of last resort to safeguard important properties that others won’t take on?