What is a Building Preservation Trust?

Individual historic buildings and the wider historic environment of which they form a part enhance the quality of all our lives and bring a sense of community and belonging. They are a link with our history and often a symbol for local memories and pride.

It is all too easy for such buildings to be lost, to be replaced by modern buildings and for “my town” to start to look very much like every other town.

Buildings can be given legal protection through the process of listing although this does not guarantee survival. Long-term survival is dependent upon there being a viable use for the building, sufficient to justify and recover the often high cost of ongoing maintenance. Where the original purpose for a building no longer exists, this requires the identification of a new use and an adaptation of the building to suit that new purpose (within the restrictions of being a listed building).

In cases where the costs of restoration and conversion outweigh the financial benefit, there is little incentive for the owner to fund such a project. This is where transferring ownership to a Building Preservation Trust (BPT) can help.

A BPT can act as a catalyst for the rescue of threatened historic buildings. Where necessary it can purchase a ‘problem’ historic building, repair and convert it for new use, then either retain and manage it, or sell it and reinvest the proceeds in another historic building ‘at risk’.

The charitable status of BPTs enable such Trusts to apply for grants and other forms of low-cost funding to bridge the gap between the project costs and revenue.

The BPT will then agree the terms for ongoing conservation of the building when transferring ownership to the new user of the restored building.

If you know of a building in need of help, or you want to find out more about BPTs please contact us or the supporting organisations in the links section.