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Spending squeeze blamed for Trust’s fall

Heritage industry shocked and saddened by sudden demise of ‘father figure’

The collapse of the Civic Trust has sent shockwaves through the heritage sector and local civic society network.

The 52-year-old charity, which acted as the umbrella group for more than 750 civic societies across England, went into administration last week blaming the ‘squeeze on local authority spending’ for its downfall.

Heritage Link, which represents 78 voluntary heritage organisations across the country, said the Trust’s demise had stunned its members.

A spokeswoman said: ‘The Trust made a significant contribution to policy work and in sharing best practice on planning and heritage matters, including heritage protection reform. That special perspective will be sorely missed.’

The Twentieth Century Society admitted it was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the news while Ken Brand of the Nottingham Civic Society said: ‘I never considered that the Civic Trust could ever be in any financial danger. It was like a father figure.’

English Heritage said it was examining the full repercussions of the Trust’s collapse, including the future of the Heritage Open Days, which the Trust set up to help open historic buildings to the public. The future of the prestigious annual Civic Trust Awards is also in doubt.

This year the Trust, which boasts Griff Rhys Jones as its president, gave awards to more than 100 buildings which it regarded as making an ‘outstanding contribution’ to the built environment.

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