Trust behind Hadrian's Wall expresses "deep regret" as lack of funding forces closure

By Ben Miller | 24 March 2014

The Hadrian's Wall Trust has announced it will close within six months

A photo of an ancient Roman wall heading out onto fields under a blue sky
The Hadrian's Wall Trust has helped care for the 135km National Trail. The wall was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987© English Heritage
The guardian group supporting Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman World Heritage Site stretching from the River Tyne to Cumbria, will close within six months, with organisers blaming increasing financial pressure following the loss of key funding.

Set up as a charitable organisation in 2012, the Hadrian’s Wall Trust has been responsible for a range of initiatives around arguably northern England’s most famous historical landmark, including archaeological discoveries, improved access routes for visitors and a range of complex conservation projects.

Speaking at the end of 2013, Linda Tuttiett, the chief executive of the Trust, warned that the collapse of the One North East and the Northwest Regional Development agencies had left the body £1 million worse off.

An Adopt a Stone campaign was launched to address a £170,000 shortfall. But in a statement issued today, trustees voiced their “deep regret” at being forced to seek an “orderly and solvent” closure, adding that the six-month timescale would see them aim to ensure the future care and protection of the site.

“Obviously it’s really unfortunate that a charitable trust that has done excellent work has now proven, in the harsh financial climate, not to be sustainable in the long-term,” said Henry Owen-John, the regional Planning and Conservation Director for English Heritage, who added that his organisation would work with Natural England and local governments along the route to plot the immediate future of Hadrian’s Wall.

“The key thing is that all the principle funding agencies are working together with the trust to ensure that what happens in future will sustain some of its essential work.

“We’re going to take a close look at how that can be achieved, but that’s got to be the ambition because it’s really important that the World Heritage Site continues to be managed and co-ordinated in an effective and coherent way.

“There shouldn’t be any significant implications provided we can ensure that Hadrian’s Wall continues to be marketed and promoted as a coherent whole rather than in different ways along the whole of its length.

“There will still be a need for co-ordination. I would doubt that it would be by a trust, as that model no long seems to work.

“We’ve been in discussions with the trust since last august, recognising the difficulties they’ve had and that our funding is understandably constrained.

“We looked at it from all different angles and regrettably came to the conclusion that the model that had worked well when it was set up with development agency funding had struggled since the removal of that funding.

“We came to what was, in the end, a shared conclusion. It didn’t look possible to continue without that into the future.”

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The Government should be giving money to trusts like this instead of to India, China and lots of other countries who are not at all grateful or even needy.
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