[Diggers350] Stop The National Trust ‘Rot’ MP Demands , Profit Driven Charity Must ‘Return To Core Values’

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Fri Mar 12 01:50:27 GMT 2021

Stop The National Trust 'Rot' MP Demands, Profit Driven Charity Must 
'Return To Core Values'

<http://tlio.org.uk/author/tony/>TONY GOSLING 

MP says there is rot in the National Trust


<https://cornishstuff.com/2020/12/>December 16, 2020 

Whilst marking its 125th anniversary and praising the National Trust 
as a fantastic institution and part of Britain's global offer

<https://www.derekthomas.org/>Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives (West 
Cornwall & Scilly) used a debate he led in the House of Commons last 
night to say there is rot in the National Trust and is calling for a 
review into whether the charity is behaving in accordance with its 
core guiding principles.

Mr Thomas provided increasing evidence that the National Trust was 
reaching far beyond what people believe is their purpose and function.

It is acting as a completely unaccountable body that can imposition 
lives and livelihoods without any right to reply or recourse, taking 
no concern for how long it takes to engage even when individuals and 
businesses are seeking to proactively engage and appease NT staff, he said.

The MP said complaints received from his constituents include:
    * The NT proposing landowners carry out activity (including 
erecting buildings) on land neither the trust nor the owner owns
    * House sales either falling though or prices dramatically 
reduced due to obstructive interventions and/or delays by the NT
    * Constituents waiting two and a half years for the NT to 
finalise a covenant
    * Businesses being charged a levy in return for NT consent to 
developments on privately-owned land
    * Appearing to favour the promotion of holiday accommodation over 
the maintenance of small but important farms along the Cornish coast.
    * Blocking efforts to install renewable energy solar panels on 
privately-owned agriculture buildings.
    * Having a disregard for local sensitivities, listed building 
regulations and basic planning processes.
    * Refusing to take responsibility for assets which are unsafe for 
the general public.

Having already written to the Charity Commission requesting they look 
into NT practices, Mr Thomas said consideration should be given to 
creating an Ombudsman for people who believe they are being treated 
wrongfully or poorly by the NT so that they have a method to be heard 
and for the NT to be held to account, in particular on the way they 
interpret their covenants, in some cases preventing farmers from 
carrying with normal farming practices such as removing stones from fields.


Mr Thomas told the House Only this weekend, I was asked, Please could 
you ask the National Trust if it is still their policy to support 
small family farms? Or given their current financial crisis will they 
opt for the short term financial gain of holiday accommodation over 
the long term benefit of local employment and better husbandry of the land?

Farmers, business owners and home-owners tell me they need an 
Ombudsman because the cost of litigating to defend themselves is far 
too high so they buckle under the pressure, he added.

I have a positive history with the National Trust I have tremendous 
respect for their volunteers who do good work in West Cornwall, I 
enjoy a good relationship with many of the staff.

I dont believe the Trust is rotten to the core but there is certainly 
rot within the organisation. 125 years on there is a need to review 
how it operates to ensure that it delivers on its primary purpose and 
charitable aims.

Mr Thomas used further examples from Cape Cornwall Golf Club, 
Mine and Porthleven slipway as difficulties he had encountered with 
the trust. He said During my brief time as a MP, I have found that 
the case load of National Trust-related issues is disproportionate to 
the many other issues that an MPs office encounters.

Defending the timing of his debate, Mr Thomas went on to say This is 
about identifying some of the concerns that constituents have, in 
order to address them, so that we can return to the core values and 
be reminded of the fantastic work that the National Trust can deliver 
through a huge army of fantastic volunteers across the United 
Kingdom. However, it is of great concern if the National Trusts 
approach to increasing yield is to make as much money as it can, 
rather than protect and enhance small farms and support the fresh 
blood introduced into the sector.

The full debate can be found 
in Hansard
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