14 June 2010
The Minister for Education, Sport and Culture has lodged a proposition seeking States support for an agreed level of activity that the Jersey Heritage Trust (JHT) should provide.
This is as a direct result of work undertaken by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Locum Consulting and BDO Alto, JHT and the Department for Education, Sport and Culture (ESC).
The proposed level of activity takes account of efforts made by JHT to address the deficit in its finances. Last month it announced a re-structuring programme which will save around £334,000 a year, however, additional annual support of £200,000 is still required if some sites are not to close permanently.
In addition, a capital fund needs to be established to allow future investment in Jersey’s heritage sites for the long-term benefit of future generations.
Locum Consulting’s report produced for the Economic Development Department acknowledged that JHT was already doing well in attracting visitors and in generating revenue from those visitors.
In return for the level of funding proposed, the States are asked to approve minimum levels of public access to the following sites for occasional events, thereby avoiding any permanent site closures:
- Jersey Museum
- Jersey Maritime Museum
- La Hougue Bie
- Mont Orgueil and Elizabeth Castle
- Jersey Archive
This will form part of the new Service Level Agreement between ESC and JHT, which will provide certainty to JHT, and safeguard the future of the Island’s main heritage sites. It will also allow for greater financial accountability and transparency in the way JHT manages its affairs, in partnership with ESC.
As the economic climate improves, it is hoped that public access may be increased for some of the sites.
ESC Minister, Deputy James Reed, said “In these difficult times, I accept that changes have to be made but I am convinced that it is not in the Island’s interests to allow sites to close permanently.
"I want access to all of our heritage sites to be maintained, so they can continue to be enjoyed by the public both now and in the future”.