National Trust call for old Broads water mills to be saved

Paul Forecast, regional director for the National Trust

Paul Forecast, regional director for the National Trust - Credit: Archant

Tax cuts on historic buildings could help save redundant windmills in the Broads, the National Trust's regional director has said.

Paul Forecast said conservation work on historic buildings was the most expensive area for the trust, with a plea to the government to help them make improvements more quickly and easily.

Giving evidence to the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs select committee he said there was not enough money to save old water mills in the Broads which were part of the attraction for visitors.

Mr Forecast was giving evidence to the Commons inquiry looking at rural tourism.

Questioned about the impact of large visitor numbers on the Trust's main sites he said there had been a positive trend of people moving away from just spring and summer visits to the region.

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He said the places like North Norfolk were rammed with people coming for different experiences in the area.

Mr Forecast put it down to the growing affluence of the nation which he said was going on more weekend trips and spending more of on weekend trips.

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He also said the National Trust had extending opening times at its properties.

In written evidence the National Trust said cuts in public spending had led to a decline in the maintenance of public rights of way and warned there was a risk that the work done by some highway authorities to put in place and promote rural walks could be undermined.

But he said that while it had been under strain in the east, they were doing a bit themselves to manage and maintain sites.

The regional director was also questioned about the large grants from the Common Agricultural Policy from the European Union going to landowners and questioned about whether it was right that the National Trust was given payments.

But he defended the grants saying that they were a charity and the money was invested in its charitable purpose.

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