Earlier this month, the Government published the results of the consultation into its plans for English Heritage. These proposals include splitting English Heritage into two distinct bodies, plus an investment of over £88m.
£80m of this money would go towards addressing a backlog of repairs and making heritage sites more accessible for a greater number of people. This will be carried out by a new charitable trust carrying on the English Heritage name, who will also take control of the management of the sites. The rest of the money is to fund the implementation of the new structure.
English Heritage’s current duties and powers in relation to planning and heritage protection are to be carried out by a new non departmental public body named Historic England. The aim of this is to make the system work better for owners, developers and infrastructure providers, reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape. It is also looking to present a stronger public facing role.
Some respondents were concerned that theese modifications should not take place at the expense of the body’s planning and conservation role, and questioned whether this would be a good opportunity for a more detailed review in light of the decreased central government funding and local authority resources.
The Government is seeking to make these proposals a reality by April 2015, though in light of the perceived lack of information about the operations and priorities of Historic England, further consultation is being demanded.