Historic Houses Association report finds £1.38bn repair backlog

The Historic Houses Association (HHA) has published the findings of a report on the Economic and Social Contribution of Independently Owned Historic Houses and Gardens.

The report, produced by DC Research, provides evidence on the scale and breadth of the sector’s economic contribution, following the Treasury’s own Green Book methodology.
Historic Houses Association president Richard Compton said: "The independent study confirms that Britain’s privately owned historic houses generate significantly greater benefit than their direct economic contribution. 

They are hugely popular tourist attractions attracting millions of visitors a year, and yet they remain embedded to their communities, acting as economic magnets and place-markers in rural areas, collectively employing thousands of people."
The key economic findings from the report are:

  • HHA members generate 41,000 Full Time Equivalent jobs in direct or induced employment
  • Contribute £286m per year into the economy as gross value added
  • HHA properties spend £247m per year on goods and services – 46 per cent of which is with local suppliers
  • Total estimated gross expenditure is £1billion from visits alone, £720m of which is off-site
Historic Houses and Gardens also make a social and cultural contribution:
  • 60 per cent of the HHA’s 1,629 membership is open to the public
  • 24 million visits to HHA properties a year
  • Almost half of HHA members host charity and community events
  • Many offer discounted access to local people to visit the house or free access to the grounds
  • One third host primary school visits; one fifth secondary school visits and many welcome higher education students and adult learners
  • HHA properties host plays, art installations, concerts and recitals
However, the cost of conserving these much-loved properties is rising, and the report highlights the alarming increase in the shortfall of maintenance expenditure at privately owned historic houses.
  • Estimated spend on regular repairs and maintenance across entire HHA membership is £85 million per annum.
  • Value of outstanding urgent repairs across entire HHA membership estimated to be almost £480 million, with value of outstanding other repairs almost £901 million. Addressing all outstanding repairs for the entire HHA membership (potential spend of £1.38 billion).
The report suggests that unless something is done, the figure for the backlog of urgent repairs will continue to increase, says the HHA.

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