Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Trust confirms headquarters sale

Man in kilt outside NTS headquarters
The move from Charlotte Square is likely to take place next year

Conservation body the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has confirmed the sale of its administrative base in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square.

The Wemyss House building has been sold to real estate investment company Fordell Estates Ltd.

The Trust said the move was part of an ongoing effort by the charity to reduce unnecessary overheads.

The sale will also enable the Trust to relocate its Edinburgh office to a canal-side office facility.

The new location is at Hermiston Quay West, also in Edinburgh. The move is likely to take place in October of next year.

The move to new premises will free up significant resources for our charity
Kate Mavor

NTS chief executive Kate Mavor said: "We want to ensure that our precious resources are put to the best possible use - protecting and preserving some of Scotland's most important cultural and natural heritage.

"The move to new premises will free up significant resources for our charity. We are pleased with the price achieved, especially in the current climate. This has also enabled us to drive a hard bargain on our new premises.

"Importantly, this move will also provide staff with a flexible working environment and improved communications infrastructure which is vital for a charity caring for properties all over Scotland."

She added that a consultation process would begin with staff to help ensure the relocation process was "as smooth as possible".

'Historic building'

The sale relates to numbers 26 to 31 Charlotte Square. Ms Mavor said efforts were being made to find new homes for the important collection currently on display in the gallery at number 28.

The NTS will continue to have a strong presence in Charlotte Square, Ms Mavor added, with the charity also owning several other buildings in the street, including the Georgian House collection and shop.

A spokesman for Fordell Estates said: "Wemyss House is a historic building and a centrepiece of Charlotte Square.

"We honour the legacy of Wemyss House and look forward to helping restore the vitality of Charlotte Square as the heart of Edinburgh's New Town."

The NTS looks after more than 100 historic properties, which showcase Scotland's architectural heritage.

But recent cost-cutting, which has seen the charity mothball three historic properties and shed 88 full and part-time staff, has led to anger among some members.

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