Board decisions: December 2019

Minutes of the Board of Trustees meeting on 17 December 2019 at 11.00am at The Smith Centre, Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London



  • Peter Luff (Chair)
  • Maria Adebowale-Schwarte
  • Kay Andrews
  • Jim Dixon
  • Sarah Flannigan
  • Perdita Hunt
  • Ray McFarlane
  • Steve Miller
  • Rene Olivieri
  • David Stocker
  • Tom Tew


  • Claire Feehily


  • Demmy Adewole
  • Colin Bailey
  • Sue Bowers
  • Millicent Holman
  • Isabel Hunt
  • Eilish McGuinness

Attending for presentation

  • Richard Bellamy
  • Drew Bennellick
  • Lee Edwards
  • Jeremy Fenn
  • Gareth Jones
  • Jonathan Platt
  • Vanessa Wells
  • Araba Webber
  • Belinda Wych
  • Anne Young


Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Board, welcomed everyone to the meeting. He welcomed Isabel Hunt, Executive Director, Business Innovation and Insight and Millicent Holman, Legal and Governance Office Coordinator, to their first Board meeting.

The Board also noted that this would be the final Board meeting attended by two Trustees, Tom Tew and Steve Miller, and the Chair, Sir Peter Luff, as their terms as Trustees would end before the next Board meeting.

Board business

1. Minutes of the Board meeting on 29 October 2019  and matters arising

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The minutes were agreed to be a true account of the meeting and signed by the Chair, following some minor amendments. 

2. Declarations of interest


Steve Miller declared a conflict of interest in relation to item 4, Chief Executive’s Report and Corporate Update, about the Historic High streets initiative. Norfolk County Council is supporting Great Yarmouth BC and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, with regard to applications to Historic England’s Historic High Streets Initiative. Due to Steve’s role at Norfolk County Council, it was agreed by the Board that this presented a potential conflict and Steve would leave the room for this discussion.

Steve also declared an interest in item 14, Derek Jarman’s prospect cottage. It was agreed that this did not present a conflict of interest, and Steve would take part in the discussion.

3. Chair’s Report

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Sir Peter Luff presented the Chair’s report in which he said a formal goodbye to his fellow Trustees and the wider organisation.

4. Chief Executive’s Report and Corporate Update

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Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director of Business Delivery, provided an update on corporate activity.

Items for decision

Steve Miller left the room for this part of the discussion.

The following item was put to the Board for decision:

  • The Executive recommended that Trustees ratify their decision to invest £3m from the 2019-2020 England budget to the £7.4m High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme profiled over a four-year period.

The Board approved this recommendation.

Steve Miller re-entered the room.

5. Confidential

6. Values and Culture update

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Vanessa Harbar, Head of Culture change, gave the Board an update on the work on values and culture.

Vanessa explained the work that had been undertaken following the last update to the Board. Most notably, the Culture team had carried out work to define the values using focus groups and culture co-creation sessions and extensive consultation across the organisation. There would be a soft launch of the behaviours in January 2020, and a poll would be created for behaviour shortlisting across January and February.

7. Confidential

8. Confidential

9. Confidential

10. Parks for people overview and presentation

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Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature policy UK, presented to the Board an overview of decisions made by The Fund and also the National Lottery Community Fund to award delivery grants to five public parks at the previous Parks for People panel.  

The Board noted the report and were positive about the work of the panel.

Items for decision

11. Request for loan – the Silverstone heritage experience

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Applicant: Silverstone Heritage Ltd

Request: Agree an investment increase of £500,000 (paid as a loan)

Project: This loan increase is required as the initial loan of £1.3m had proved insufficient to cover additional costs resulting from the administration, including the need to replace several works previously reported by the main contractor as complete. At the time the loan was made, the risk that costs would continue to increase had been identified by both the grantee and expert advice, and a prudent contingency included. While this has proved insufficient, our two expert advisors consider that costs have nonetheless been well managed. The additional works resulted in a delay in the Experience opening, increased overheads, and lost revenue.

The Board approved the investment increase of £500,000

The Board recognised:

  • The importance of this high-profile project, noting its internationally significant heritage.
  • The view of the experts indicating that costs had been well managed and this loan could be repaid.
  • That the loan is in line with other authorities to be repaid at 5% for 10 years.
  • That The Fund would be first in line for repayment.

12. Bywyd Newydd i’r Hen Goleg / New Life for Old College – Aberystwyth University

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Applicant: Aberystwyth University (Old College)

Request: Grant of £9,732,300 (35%)

Project: Grade I listed building on a prominent site on Aberystwyth’s promenade and the original home of Wales’ first university. The Old College project will restore and re-purpose for future generations one of the nation’s most important historic buildings and create a major centre for culture, learning, and enterprise. The project will safeguard and celebrate heritage of major significance, create new spaces to explore, learn and enjoy and attract more visitors and tourists to the town, acting as a catalyst for regeneration in a disadvantaged area of rural Wales.

The Board recognised:

  • That the proposals had offered good opportunities for skills development including apprenticeships and training.
  • The project will support multiple new uses for Old College and the Georgian villas, thereby helping to safeguard their future.
  • That there is a strong fit with the University’s mission to break down traditional barriers and provide greater interactivity with the community.
  • The fact that this will be a loss-making enterprise for the university. They are committed to meeting any additional operational losses while corrective actions are implemented.

The Board AWARDED a grant of £9,732,300 (35%).

National Heritage Memorial Fund

13. NHMF Report

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Vanessa Wells, Senior NHMF Manager, presented the NHMF report.

Vanessa also stated that the application from the National Trust for the Stonehenge avenue acquisition had been submitted and would be presented for decision at the February Board meeting.

14. Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage: securing the future of an inspirational building, garden, collection, and archive

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Applicant: Art Fund

Request: Grant of £750,000 (50%)

Project: The Art Fund, working in partnership with Tate and Creative Folkestone, is seeking funding to acquire Prospect Cottage, the Dungeness home, and garden created by Derek Jarman (1942–94), filmmaker, artist, and activist.

The NHMF Panel recommended the project to the Board as a high priority for support.

The Board highlighted:

  • That public ownership was needed to maintain and safeguard the property and maintain public access to the property;
  • That the Will Trust would be required to pursue a private sale if the property was not acquired by the Art Fund. This is particularly important as a private sale risks the separation of the house and collections;

The Board AWARDED a grant of £750,000 (50%)

15. Jessie Marion King original artworks

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Applicant: Kirkcudbright Galleries

Request: Grant of £8,200 (21%)

Project: The Kirkcudbright Galleries (Dumfries and Galloway Council) wishes to acquire four works by the artist Jessie Marion King (1875-1949). Jessie Marion King was highly influential in the Art Nouveau style in Scotland. She is considered one of the "Glasgow Girls".

The NHMF Panel agreed the application represented a MEDIUM priority for support but was a HIGH priority given the political context of NHMF awards to Scottish institutions.

The Board highlighted:

  • That these works were of importance to the national heritage and that;
  • That the contribution required from the NHMF was relatively low.

The Board AWARDED a grant of £8,200 (21%)

Any other business


The Board said goodbye to the Chair, Sir Peter Luff and Trustees, Tom Tew and Steve Miller.