County council to discuss new heritage trust

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TALKS to create an independent organisation to run arts, museums and heritage services across the county, are due to take place next week.

Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council are putting the finishing touches to plans that could see the two authorities working together and create charity Hampshire Solent Cultural Trust.

The county council’s culture, communities and rural affairs select committee will be asked to scrutinise the business case for the proposed trust at its meeting on September 10.

Councillor Keith Chapman, who is in charge of culture, recreation and countryside, said: ‘Under these proposals, museum collections would be loaned to the new trust, and new acquisitions would be held in trust on behalf of the councils.

‘With ongoing budget constraints across the public sector as a whole, it’s important we look at this long term, resilient solution.

‘The intention of the trust is not to reduce staff numbers, but to protect the quality and future of heritage services on offer to residents across Hampshire.

‘Its aim would be to boost the national profile of Hampshire’s cultural heritage, attract more visitors, maximise opportunities for greater external investment, develop business enterprise and support, and reduce dependency over time on local authority funding.’

A decision will be made on September 25.