Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hadrian's Wall Has 125 Legal Owners; MP Suggests Single Ownership to Boost Tourism

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hadrian's Wall Has 125 Legal Owners; MP Suggests Single Ownership to Boost Tourism

Article excerpt

Byline: William Green

OWNERSHIP of Hadrian's Wall should be transferred to a single organisation to boost tourism, Parliament was told yesterday. Carlisle MP John Stevenson made the call after highlighting how the Roman Wall and adjoining land has more than 125 different legal landowners.

He said transferring ownership to Hadrian's Wall Heritage - the non-profit making company managing the wall - would enable the firm to build on its "extremely successful" work in developing it as a tourist attraction.

But the company said it had never sought single ownership and wanted to deepen a co-ordinated management approach. Tourism Minister John Penrose also suggested that was a better approach. Mr Stevenson, who secured a Parliamentary debate on the issue yesterday, said: "It is hard to believe, but the wall and land which it adjoins have over 125 different legal owners.

"Some of these owners are private landowners, but many are public, whether they are councils, the National Trust, English Heritage or Hadrian's Wall company itself.

"Unfortunately, the company is a very small landowner. Yet it is charged with promoting and caring for the Wall almost in its entirety.

"Would it not therefore make sense for much, if not all, of the ownership and the relevant surrounding land to be transferred into the company's ownership?" While it would not happen overnight, the Tory MP said it would allow the company to manage and promote the wall far more effectively.

He suggested public and private landowners could hand over their sites in the interests of preserving and promoting the wall as well as helping the economy and environment.

If that was a step too far, Mr Stevenson said they could lease their land or give over direct management to the company.

"The company would clearly have to accept responsibilities that go with ownership or control," he said.

"But it would be fairer for them to have responsibility for preserving the wall and at the same time, the opportunity to generate some kind of income stream which can then be used to reinvest in the preservation and promotion of Hadrian's Wall. …

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