English Heritage has been awarded £80m by the Government to establish a new charity to care for its National Heritage Collection of historic properties.
The new charity, to be known as The National Heritage Protection Service, should be set up by March 2015 and will be licensed by English Heritage’s governing body, The Commission.
But it will be entirely self-funding, enabling it to generate greater commercial income to protect England’s cultural treasures.
The National Heritage Collection of 420 historic sites, monuments and collections, includes Stonehenge and the NAS HQ, Fort Cumberland.
The National Heritage Protection Service will continue to be the Government’s expert on all aspects of England’s archaeological and build heritage– including the archaeological remains beneath the coastal waters.
English Heritage says that the new arrangement will greatly benefit its planning and heritage protection responsibilities.
Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: "Charitable status will give English Heritage the dual freedom to grow, develop and raise funds for the National Heritage Collection of historic sites, whilst allowing The National Heritage Protection Service to concentrate on providing impartial, expert advice.”
She added that the new structure will offer a better deal for the taxpayer, keeping the properties themselves in public ownership and managing them under a licence to ensure their historic integrity is preserved.
Public consultation will begin shortly and in due course, recruitment of a Chairman and trustees for the new charity will get underway.