The English Heritage Commissioners have just joined the chorus of scepticism over the proposal to split up the organisation. They have said they can’t commit to supporting it until “unacceptable financial risk” is mitigated.  The plan is for a one-off £85 million grant for a new organisation to both manage and improve the National Heritage Collection of more than 400 properties and then to become self-financing within eight years.

It is based on the Government’s projected figures of an 86% increase in membership and a 31% increase in visitor numbers. Nice growth if you can get it but clearly the Commissioners have doubts. They “welcomed the proposed model” (how polite!) but have warned that its success is “critically dependent” upon having “financial certainty” (or “enough money” as most people say!)

The Government's projection for EH's growth over 8 years. Failing this, what?

The Government’s projection for EH’s growth over 8 years. Failing this, what?

The Heritage Alliance have similar doubts: “Visitor figures are notoriously volatile as events such as the outbreak of foot and mouth disease have shown…..it would only take one or two significant events to derail this model” (like unprecedented bad weather and flooding for instance?). They also recommend the money is paid in one lump sum to avoid a change of heart by the Government! The National Trust has also suggested that after eight years when the money is gone the model may become “unsustainable”.