Building Preservation Trusts
What is a Building Preservation Trust?
A BPT is a charity, usually set up and run by volunteers, that seeks new uses for neglected historic buildings.
There are two types of BPT: the more common 'Revolving Fund Trusts', which acquire, repair, and sell on, historic buildings. If there is any surplus this is put towards the next project. Some trusts are 'Single Project Trusts', set up out of concern for a specific building for which they envisage a suitable end use. Once the building has been saved, the trust will maintain and run the building.
How long have BPTs existed?
Over the last twenty years, BPTs have become well established in Scotland and England as effective agents for repair, conversion and regeneration of our historic building stock. There are over 170 BPTs in the UK. In Wales, there were three prior to 1991; by early 1998 there were 17, and more are being set up. To date there are three in Northern Ireland.
Who can start a BPT?
Most trusts are set up by local residents, remain rooted in the local community, rely on local knowledge, and understand local hopes and concerns. However, BPTs seek to work in partnership with central and local government, housing associations, local enterprise agencies and the private sector.
Why do BPTs succeed when ordinary developers cannot?
Trusts often take on buildings that no-one else has been prepared to tackle. As public-benefit trusts, BPTs are eligible for grants from other charities, statutory bodies, Europe and the Lottery that could not be used by private developers. BPTs can thus preserve for public benefit threatened buildings of architectural and historic importance where a commercial solution cannot be found.
This may trigger regeneration in a run-down area. However, BPTs rely heavily on the time given by volunteers, and on donations from the public.
Do BPTs just preserve old buildings?
By adapting old buildings to new uses, BPTs create new jobs, provide housing, improve the quality of the environment and contribute to tourism.
BPTs aim to ensure that buildings are repaired to the highest standard. This presents training opportunities in traditional skills.
BPTs seek to raise awareness of the cultural and economic importance of the built environment, by holding open days, mounting exhibitions, publishing literature and campaigning on related conservation issues.
Trusts & Historical Preservation
Cadw is the historic environment division within the Welsh Assembly Government
The Heritage Lottery Fund enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage
The UK Association of Preservation Trusts
The Architectural Heritage Fund is a charity founded to promote the conservation of historic buildings in the UK