Rangers fear losing their homes as National Trust seeks increased rents

Employer’s bid to get ‘market rate’ for staff housing would force  hundreds to move off-site

Many of the rangers, who look after stunning stretches of landscape across England and Wales from the South Downs to the Lake District, live with their families on site,  paying peppercorn rents for country cottages and houses which they could not otherwise afford.

They are often the public face of the Trust, and their housing is part of a job package reflecting the  isolated locations and the unsocial hours many rangers work.

Now the Trust, which is the wealthiest conservation body in Britain, with an income last year of almost £436m, intends to let these properties at market rates.

It will be offering compensation to those affected – but there are fears it will not be adequate for rangers to afford the hiked rents on their homes or, in some cases, the surrounding area.

Some rangers are deeply upset at the proposals, but are fearful of speaking out. One told The Independent: “It’s just an awful situation for us but we’re scared to say anything in case we lose our jobs as well. They’ve gone back on our deal: they want to rent the houses for the market price and put us out. They’re pulling the rug from under us. They’re offering us very little. After all these years of service I’m going to be put out on the street.”

Today the Trust said it could not give a figure for how many of its 500-plus rangers would lose their homes, but recently, David Kennington, the National Trust’s general manager for the Surrey Hills, said that about 350 people could be affected nationally.

He said: “They’re not very happy. And I understand for the public it’s reassuring to have the presence of a ranger, but that’s no longer a reason to provide them with a house. I understand where the Trust is coming from. Organisations like the Forestry Commission, the RSPB, Natural England, they took housing off staff donkeys years ago. We could all see this coming from way out.”

A National Trust spokesman said today: “We’re reviewing how staff housing is allocated across the organisation to make our approach more consistent, fairer to other employees in similar roles and to ensure we are compliant with rules on tax.

“Living on-site is not always as desirable as it may seem, particularly with the demands of a modern working environment and the extra responsibility it entails. We expect to be able to announce the outcome of this process in February, with changes coming into effect by 2017.

“We recognise that this will be unsettling for affected staff, which is why we’re working with the Prospect trade union and talking to individuals about how the changes might affect them.

“We’ve agreed a financial support package with the union in readiness for any changes that may come from the review,” the spokesman said.

It is thought that some staff will be offered an increase in salary of up to £2,000 to enable them to pay market rents for their accommodation, but rangers fear that in parts of the country, notably the south-east, this will not cover the difference.

The Trust was unable last night to give figures for rangers’ salaries,  average present rents for their  accommodation, and average  market rents. But Mr Kennington suggested the difference between the latter two might amount to a five-figure sum. “Staff without housing are effectively getting paid £10,000 to £12,000 less,” he said.

It is believed the Trust intends to use private security firms to keep watch over sites when rangers are not on duty after they have moved out of their houses and relocated away from the areas they work in.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits