The Civic Trust has become the latest victim of the credit crunch after plunging into administration
The 52-year-old charity, which acted as the umbrella group for more than 750 Civic Societies across England, was best known for its annual Civic Trust Awards, its campaigning to ‘create better, people-friendly places’ and supporting the preservation of local heritage sites.
It is understood a ‘squeeze on local authority spending’ finally spelled the end for the Trust which, sources claim, had been in difficulties for some time.
Heritage Link, which represents 78 voluntary heritage organisations across the country, said the Trust’s demise had sent shockwaves through the sector.
A spokeswoman said: ‘The Trust captured the mood of the nation [when it was founded in 1957] when quality of life, improving and caring for places where people live and work won political and popular support.
‘[It] 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.’
Will Palin from SAVE Britain’s Heritage agreed that the ‘news was a real shock’.
The collapse of the Trust, which boasts Griff Rhys Jones as its president, emerged on Friday (17 April).
Talking to the BBC, Civic Trust chairman Philip Kolvin blamed the lack of local authority funding and added: ‘I still passionately believe in the civic movement, but it now needs grassroots members of vision and energy to start afresh with a new organisation, working within its means and building gradually from the bottom.’
This year’s Civic Trust Awards - which could now be the last – heaped accolades on more than a 100 buildings which it regarded as making an ‘outstanding contribution’ to the built environment.
These included Rogers Stirk Harbour’s Maggie’s Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith and Gareth Hoskins’ Culloden battlefield visitor centre in Inverness.