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Innovation and Partnership Team: case studies

Urban Rangers helping to create new habitat spaces at Morden Hall Park, London
Getting ready to work on the next urban park project | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

Take a look at a selection of the consultancy projects the Innovation and Partnership Team (IPT) has worked on over the last 10 years, including partnerships with a Derbyshire castle and a popular Manchester park.


We have worked in partnership with the Canal and River Trust to find a sustainable future for the Roundhouse, a late Victorian, Grade II* canal-side building in Birmingham city centre. This building has now been transformed into a hub from which to explore the city by foot, bike or boat.

Explore the Roundhouse

Moseley Road Baths

We joined a coalition of organisations to secure a sustainable future for Moseley Road Baths, one of Birmingham's most important heritage buildings and the only Grade II* baths predating 1914 that still in use. After it was threatened with closure, our ‘coalition of the willing’ worked alongside Birmingham City Council to help save the site, contributing over £2.5m of expertise and funding.

Read more about the Moseley Road Baths project

Creswell Crags

Creswell Crags is an internationally significant limestone gorge honeycombed with caves on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border. It provides a fascinating glimpse into life during the last Ice Age, including the only discovery to date of Ice Age rock art in Britain.

Creswell Heritage Trust was finding it increasingly challenging to maintain its financial sustainability so, in 2015, the National Trust undertook a comprehensive review of its governance; staffing structure and volunteering; commercial and visitor operations; and finance and fundraising.

We then developed a detailed three-year business plan which provided a road map to securing its sustainable long-term future.

Elvaston Castle

Managed by Derbyshire County Council, Elvaston Castle is a Grade II* listed country house forming the centrepiece of a 350-acre estate that also includes 16 Grade II buildings and a Grade II* registered park and garden.

Although it receives over 350,000 visitors every year, the estate had been in steady decline for several decades, with a significant backlog of capital repairs required for both the buildings and the landscape.

From 2013 to 2015, the National Trust delivered a detailed and complex commission for the County Council. We developed a shared vision and guiding principles for the site following widespread engagement with the local community as well as other stakeholders; prepared a detailed 10-year operating business plan; scoped and commenced the establishment of a charitable ‘single management body’ to run the site following a proposed asset transfer; and prepared a detailed Stage 1 Heritage Lottery Fund bid for a multi-million pound project.

Heaton Park Strategic Framework

Heaton Park is a large family-friendly park owned and managed by Manchester City Council, four miles north of the city centre.

A Grade I listed country house designed by James Wyatt sits at its centre, open to the public only on certain days. Yet the park remains hugely popular with people from across Manchester and the North West, and the city council wanted to maximise its potential for the local community, economy and environment.

Two young volunteers tending the parkland at Morden Hall Park in London
Getting stuck into urban park restoration work | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

In 2014 they commissioned a consortium led by the National Trust to develop a robust, sustainable and commercially-sound strategic plan for the park and Hall for the next ten years.

We identified a vision and authored a statement to that effect, defined the spirit of place, wrote a statement of significance and identified the key issues facing Heaton as well as possible solutions.

Our final report included recommendations on enhancing and improving visitor experience, commercial performance, volunteering, governance arrangements and the restoration and conservation of heritage and environmental assets.

The findings were well received and many of the short and medium term recommendations implemented, with work still ongoing to address the longer-term ones.

Future Parks initiative

Just as we are beginning to reaffirm the true value of open spaces to our society and economy, the health of our public parks is under threat due to a dramatic shift in local authority funding.

In response, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Trust, with government support, announced a multi-million pound initiative to secure the future of the UK’s urban parks and green spaces.

In the first project of its kind in the UK, eight urban areas, covering a population of five million people, joined forces in a pioneering programme called the Future Parks initiative.

Find out more about who and what is involved in the Future Parks initiative.

A visitor in the gardens at Red House, London

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Innovation and Partnership Team 

The Innovation and Partnership Team (IPT) offers a full range of consultancy services as well as scoping and development of bespoke projects. Find out more about who we are and what we do.

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