Our acquisitions

Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland
After 14 months of fundraising, the National Trust received the keys to Seaton Delaval Hall in December 2009 National Trust Images / John Hammond

We're one of the largest conservation organisations in the UK, so we receive a lot of requests to save heritage and countryside that's under threat.

We're one of the largest conservation organisations in the UK, so we receive a lot of requests to save heritage and countryside that's under threat.
This may be a building of special architectural interest, a local green space or a swathe of landscape at risk of development.
As a charity, we're dependent on the support of our 3.8 million members, and sadly we cannot save everything at risk. To help us decide which acquisitions we can consider, we have a set of guidelines.
  1. The property must be of national importance because it is outstanding for its natural beauty or natural or historic interest. Places of local importance whose distinctiveness transcends local significance may be regarded as of national importance.
  2. Ownership by the Trust should increase benefit to the nation. Such benefit is for future generations as well as our own. It can be provided through physical, visual and intellectual access and by the acquisition of properties to promote the protection of the environment. In certain parts of the country, e.g. highly developed and built up areas, this benefit to the nation may be greater than the inherent importance of the site might suggest.
  3. The property should normally be under threat. Coastal and estuarine properties of merit which are not under threat may be acquired under Enterprise Neptune. Threat is defined as a situation in which, without the Trust’s protection, a place or building is in danger of deterioration, demolition, alteration or development that would be harmful to its character or environment.
  4. The property will not be acquired unless the Trust is the most appropriate owner. The most appropriate owner is one who has the skills, knowledge and experience for the particular needs of a property and of the communities in which it lies. They can also build on the opportunities afforded by ownership and can offer the required degree of protection.
  5. The property may be acquired to protect an existing property of inalienable standard. We may acquire land or buildings if their development could impact on nearby places of national importance.
  6. The property should be, and should be expected to remain, financially self-supporting. In the assessment of properties, consideration should be given to the management and financial consequences for existing properties and projects. All acquisitions are approved centrally as they must be considered of national importance. The cost of the acquisition and level of risk involved determines the level of approval the acquisition requires. For example, an acquisition cost of £3 million or more must be approved by our Board of Trustees. Acquisitions under this amount are approved by a central Projects and Acquisitions group comprising the Director of Operations, Finance, Marketing, External Affairs, Conservation and The Solicitor.