Menu closed Menu open

What is a Heritage Development Trust?

Heritage Development Trusts are an innovative way for local people to help create a future for the places that define their communities - a powerful new model that can turn neglected heritage assets in our city and town centres into foundations for economic, social and cultural resurgence. 

All over the country, local people are coming together with local government, businesses, charities, funders and more, to reimagine and repurpose the heritage buildings that tell the story of their communities.

How HDTs work

The Heritage Development Trust model, developed by the Architectural Heritage Fund, is not a prescribed legal structure – organisations can be social enterprises or charities of different forms, e.g. CIOs or CICs.  What Heritage Development Trusts share is a unifying commitment to the reimagining, repair, and reuse of historic buildings of value to their community. They are:

  • Multi-building developers: acquiring and managing a portfolio of heritage assets, to create an economically sustainable model through their revenue-raising potential;

  • Community-based partnerships: arising from the needs of their community, and working in close partnership with local people, local government and local business; and

  • Entrepreneurial & Not for Profit: reinvesting their surpluses in development, and creating additional economic, social, environmental and cultural value for their communities.

Valley Heritage - one of the first Heritage Development Trusts
Valley Heritage - one of the first Heritage Development Trusts

More information

The Heritage Development Trust model has been developed through the Architectural Heritage Fund’s Transforming Places Through Heritage programme, part of a wider initiative to revive historic high streets in England, alongside Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action ZonesTogether, these programmes form part of the Future High Streets Fund, administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.


For more information, get in touch at