English Heritage to shed over 100 sites

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The Independent Online
ENGLISH HERITAGE is to announce plans to rid itself of more than 100 buildings and monuments, passing them on to councils, conservation charities, trusts and possibly private companies.

The move is part of a shake-up of the Government agency under its new chairman Jocelyn Stevens, appointed last year.

There are expected to be about 180 redundancies. Rumours have been circulating among worried staff about the contents of a document, Managing England's Heritage, a draft of which has been obtained by the Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists (IPMS), a civil service trade union.

English Heritage declined to comment, saying the contents were strictly confidential until publication on Monday.

The organisation owns or manages nearly 400 buildings and sites, including Stonehenge, castles, abbeys, and Roman ruins. It is to concentrate 'human and financial' resources on about two-thirds of these, 'the high ground . . . instead of spreading them dangerously thinly', says the draft. Its 400-strong labour force, much of it craftsmen, is to be privatised.

The IPMS said: 'We're quite outraged, not only because of the job losses for our members but because of the importance to the public heritage.'