Heritage Alliance backs transfer of part of English Heritage to charity sector

The alliance, which includes the National Trust, says the move would end the anomaly that the regulator and operator of historic sites are the same body

Hardwick Old Hall, owned by English Heritage
Hardwick Old Hall, owned by English Heritage

The Heritage Alliance, a group of 90 heritage charities including the National Trust, has backed the decision to transfer part of English Heritage into the charity sector.

As part of last month’s spending review, the government announced that it would consult on turning part of English Heritage into a charity to look after the National Heritage Collection, which consists of the 420 sites, monuments and collections managed by English Heritage.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Heritage Alliance said that it supported the move to separate the National Heritage Collection from English Heritage’s planning and protection functions.

The alliance said the proposals would remove "the long-standing anomaly of the government’s adviser on the historic environment acting as regulator as well as operator of historic sites" and that "the charity will have a clear remit and greater freedom to operate".

But it also criticised the funding cuts to the rest of English Heritage, which it said had suffered a budget cut of 38 per cent in real terms since 2011.

The alliance said that the brunt of the cuts would be borne by the second part of English Heritage, which under the plans will become the National Heritage Protection Service and take over its statutory responsibilities for planning and heritage protection.

"The alliance is particularly concerned that there will be inadequate financial support for this NHPS," the statement said.

David Ainsworth

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