The National Trust for Scotland wants heritage and conservation bodies to join forces to share responsibility for running and promoting historic attractions and help it to “fill the gaps” in its portfolio by rescuing other sites. It has called a major summit for later this month.
A new five-year strategy for the organisation, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, is expected to begin moves to ensure NTS does not “overlap” with the likes of Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the RSPB.
Although its main focus is on 130 flagship sites, NTS is also responsible for 200,000 acres of countryside, 46 of Scotland’s Munros, seven nature reserves, 248 miles of coastline and 16 remote islands, including Canna and St Kilda.
In future, NTS is expected to focus more on “heritage of national importance”. Rundown castles, neglected islands, old cinemas and concert halls, as well as the highlights of Scotland’s industrial heritage, including factories and even giant cranes, are expected to be targeted for restoration under the five-year strategy.
Trust chairman Sir Kenneth Calman dispelled fears that the organisation was to embark on “asset-stripping” in the wake of its well-publicised financial problems.
The charity insists it has no plans to dispose of any of its major sites of national significance, insisting it will shed properties only if they are found to be of no heritage value. National Trust for Scotland will see it become more commercially minded, intervene to save threatened historic sites and “sweat” its existing assets to make them generate more money.