The National Trust is right to sell its land to developers
The National Trust owns some highly valuable real estate. It also needs to raise money to ensure it can pay for all the conservation projects we demand it takes on. Isn't it right then that it should be able to sell some land to pay for this good work?
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The national trust needs to raise funds to keep up with the rising costs of conservation projects in areas
Compared to 2006/7, this year the national trust revenue increased by over £30m. However, the outgoings of the trust also increased by almost £40m. In order to meet this disparity, the trust is finding new ways to keep its aims alive. Selling the less vital lands, such as those which are currently inaccessible to the public, makes sense from both financial and long-term perspectives and having less land to manage will ease the financial stresses being felt across the national trust and its diverse projects. The sale of the land will not affect its projects for conservation and protection of the land that is under its power as shown by the re-opening of Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds and its continued efforts to inspire young children to get involved.
Surely there are more effective ways to fund conservation than selling the very lands that need conserving.
The publicity may re-generate public interest in supporting the charity
There has been an increasing amount of media focus on the national trust due to this surprise proposed sale to developers. The story had a half-page story in The Independent, and this media attention, combined with the declining disposable income of most British families, could spark a wave of public interest in taking a "stay-cation," to one of the many British beauty spots owned by the national trust. This would be a strong positive factor in support of the statement as one of the most challenging aspects of the work of the national trust is finding new ways to engage public interest. This marketing medium has been successful in many different business models and is the foundation for the success of celebrity endorsement of products.
Why would negative press make people more likely to visit National Trust land? Why would people want to help fund an organisation that betrays its values by selling land to developers? The only way to convince people that it is worth supporting if for the National Trust to protect our heritage from the threat of commercial development.
The sale would meet the increasing demand for prime location housing
The land owned by The National Trust is valuable for a variety of reasons but most importantly, it is valued highly for its rural location which, developers and prospective home-buyers would certainly pay a premium for. This premium paid for the land would mean that more profits would be pushed back into maintaining and developing current and future national trust projects and repairing the somewhat desperate state of the national stately homes and give a helping hand to the £11m generated by admission fees to these magnificent properties. It therefore makes good business sense for the National Trust to sell what would amount to a minimal percentage of its land, to prospect developers.
The human interference is incongruent with the nature-loving reputation currently enjoyed by the National Trust
The National Trust has a Strategic Aim to "to offer visitors a more involving and enjoyable experience" which, in previous years, has been effectively pursued but the sale of this land would inherently violate this aim as it is encouraging non-natural interference in the natural landscape and would spoil the rural experiences currently enjoyed by visitors to both the remote and historic national trust lands.
Urbanisation of rural areas is both undesirable and unnecessary
The housing market is currently running at a slower pace than it was in the last year. With more people choosing not to relocate, there seems little need for property or land development in such a remote area as enjoyed by a large portion of the National Trust lands. The undesirability will be further discussed in detail but to be brief, it is not in the interests of both the visiting public and the surrounding landscapes of the land to be sold, to have developments done to them. The developments would be costly, on such unpredictable natural terrain and would be an eyesore during the construction stages.
There is a further negative impact - the wildlife and environment
The National Trust is home to almost 6000 hectares of ancient woodlands and over 24000 hectares of woodland housing a phenomenal variety of species and types of animal and plant. The sale of the land to developers would not only mean the loss of the land from the National Trust itself but land such as the size being sold could house as many as 45 species of butterfly and many different types of plant and shrubbery. Therefore the history of Britain both naturally and geologically are predominantly in the hands of the National Trust. Therefore, the removal of forest lands is a blatant disregard on the part of the National Trust, of its national duty to stick to its mission statement.
What happened to the conservationist mentality of the National Trust?
The national duty as mentioned previously has come about from the high public esteem for the charity and this esteem is being slowly eroded by the sale of the land to seemingly profit-driven developers. It seems a contradiction in terms for the National Trust to run its famous "Working Holidays" to aide the upkeep of its land and properties when, the Trust is so keen to shed its load and duty by simply selling the land and taking the easy road to financial comfort. There seems to be little moral considerations behind this venture and may even have further negative consequences as the public lose faith in a leading promoter of British holidays and so, as people choose to go elsewhere and attitudes shift away from the British pride once felt for the picturesque National Trust lands, surely a sale venture is one step too far and should therefore not go ahead.
What do you think?