The North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT)
The North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT) is a building preservation trust (BPT) that undertakes projects within the Aberdeenshire area. The remit of the Trust is to acquire and restore significant historic or architectural properties that are not restorable by normal commercial mechanisms. NESPT was founded in 1985 through an initiative from Grampian Regional Council and the Scottish Civic Trust. NESPT has since operated on a ‘revolving fund’ basis with the proceeds generated by one project being used to form the working capital for the next. NESPT holds charitable status and operates as a company limited by guarantee. The Trust operates through a 14 member voluntary Council of Management. The Council of Management is made up of the Trust’s six voluntary Trustees, four additional community representatives, and four elected Councillors.
As a BPT, the Trust can consider projects that would not be viable in normal commercial terms. This is because of the Trust’s ability to both attract a higher proportion of grant assistance and to progress a development without needing to generate a commercial profit margin. Many historic building projects fall into this category, making the opportunities available to the Trust extensive. It is the Trust’s aim to secure a rolling programme of both types of project.
The four key considerations for the Trust in undertaking any project are: the heritage merit of the building; that grants can be obtained to fund the conservation deficit; that an appropriate end-use (preferably of public benefit) can be secured; and that NESPT is the most appropriate delivery mechanism. Although NESPT undertakes commercially unviable developments, it nonetheless seeks to ensure not only that the majority of projects provide a surplus but also that the level of surplus reflects the perceived level of risk. In this way the Trust safeguards its financial well-being and protects its sources of funding.