Plans to restructure English Heritage
“A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit.”
On 14 October 2014, following a consultation, the Government announced plans to restructure the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England ("the Commission"), also known as English Heritage, into two separate bodies.
Firstly, a new body will become a charity, to remain with the name English Heritage. The key role of the new English Heritage will be to take responsibility for the National Heritage Collection (comprising more than 400 properties and sites) until 2022. The Government plans to invest £80m (in addition to any further monies raised by third parties) into English Heritage with such money being used to remedy conservation defects, create new exhibitions, and continue to improve the visitor experience. By 2022, it is envisaged that the management of the National Heritage Collection will be completely self-financing leading to a benefit for the taxpayer.
The wider remit of the Commission, i.e. planning, heritage and other duties and responsibilities and powers in relation to the preservation of England's historic environment, will be delivered by the newly-named "Historic England". One of the key aims of this body will be to cut red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy so that the engagement with the public and support of sustainable growth can be dealt with more efficiently. Research, guidance and grants as well as the promotion of constructive conservation will also be part of Historic England's remit.
The modernist poet, Ezra Pound said "A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit". The Government's proposals have the preservation of our historic buildings at their heart and the funding provided will assist in carrying out repairs and enable our eyes to 'stay lit' on them.
Access the Government's paper here: English Heritage New Model