South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

The National Trust publishes new research on the future of urban heritage

The National Trust has published new research looking at the scale of the challenge and threats facing Grade II listed buildings with potential for public value. The report, 'The Trends and Future of Urban Heritage', also assesses the trends and challenges around work to sustain urban heritage projects, reviewing relevant current policies and programmes to pinpoint strengths, gaps and weaknesses.



The research was commissioned from BOP Consulting and Gareth Maeer. The objectives of the research were to:


  • Provide an evidence base around urban heritage, and in particular the threats to Grade II listed buildings with potential for public value use
  • Review relevant current policies and programmes to pinpoint strengths, gaps and weaknesses
  • Assess the trends and challenges around work to sustain urban heritage projects as a guide to National Trust strategy, particularly the Urban Places Programme
  • Consolidate the existing evidence on public engagement with urban heritage and augment it with new research by the National Trust.


In a blog post, Georgie Holmes-Skelton, Head of Government Affairs, National Trust, said: "One of the most interesting findings of the report is that there is insufficient focus on sustainability in terms of existing support for heritage projects. This reflects a need to think not only about protecting the physical fabric of heritage assets, but to build a plan for future use into restoration and rescue of historic buildings. If this holistic approach is not taken, there is a risk that buildings fall into a pattern of disuse and disrepair, emergency restoration and then a slow return to decline as projects and funds dwindle. Thinking innovatively about how buildings can be used to generate income and support their own long-term future is absolutely key if we are to not only hold on to our heritage, but use it to bring long term benefit for people and communities."


The full report can be found here, and a summary version is available here.