Heritage Foundation responds to concerns over governance review

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The Heritage Foundation is reviewing the way it selects is governors - Credit: Google

Potential changes to the way governors are selected for the Letchworth Heritage Foundation have sparked concerns to some, who believe the democratic process could be at risk.

Although the Heritage Foundation has said there are "no agreed proposals" at the moment, Comet readers have penned letters highlighting their concerns. 

The Heritage Foundation was set up following an Act of Parliament, which transferred the estate of the Letchworth Garden City Corporation - also set up by Parliament - across to the new governing body, charged with maintaining and enhancing the world's first Garden City and its subsequent principles.

It is the largest housing landlord in Letchworth, and is governed by 30 representatives - ten of whom are nominated by various clubs and societies registered with the foundation, 14 who are interviewed and appointed the board of trustees, and six who are elected by residents. 

In 2019, the Heritage Foundation's Trustees began a Governance Review, which was postponed by the pandemic and resumed earlier this year.


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The prospect of the election process being scrapped as a result of the review has raised concerns for some residents.

One wrote: "They propose to eliminate all vestiges of democracy by getting rid of all the elected governors leaving only the appointees.

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"As Letchworthians we need to pinch ourselves; this is our Heritage Foundation, set up by Parliament to look after the unique heritage of our  town."

Another said: "Residents of Letchworth need to make known to the Heritage Foundation and MP, their opposition to this proposal or we risk handing over the decision making on the financial assets and future changes to Letchworth, to an unelected body with no accountability to the town."

A Heritage Foundation spokesperson said: “The trustees began a Governance Review in 2019 using the Charity Governance Code and this was postponed when the pandemic began.

"The trustees picked it up again earlier this year. There are no agreed proposals at present.

"The trustees have been consulting with governors on a range of proposals and suggestions, and they are now considering their detailed feedback before further consultations with governors take place later in the summer.” 

What do you think of the idea of governance forms at the Heritage Foundation? Email your views to georgia.barrow@archant.co.uk. 

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