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Arundells trustees should follow Sir Edward's will
3:32pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in Salisbury Letters
ROBERT Key has resigned [as trustee of Arundells] (Journal, Jan 24) because he does not agree with a decision made by the trustees to consider the plans put forward by a China-based businessman, who happens to have been a secretary to Sir Edward Heath in his former years.
Mr Key was invited to become a trustee, presumably to help run the charity in the manner it was set up.
The objective set out in Sir Edward’s will was to have it remain open to the public for the benefit of all.
The reason behind not making money to ensure its sustainability was because it was not run in a manner sufficient to meet this goal, and consequently the money ran out.
Now Mr Key wants it sold. Why?
He claims the people of Salisbury and The Close residents don’t want it as a visitor attraction.
How does he come to that conclusion?
There are many Salisbury residents who speak in favour of keeping it open.
Admittedly there are a small minority in the Close who are against it, but that is founded on the fact they didn’t like Heath, nothing to do with the house itself.
Mr Key says the money should be spent on scholarships, music and sailing, and that could happen in the future with monies made from a well-run charity and following the real wishes of Sir Edward Heath.
He states “we” have taken the advice of English Heritage and the National Trust.
Who are “we”? Presumably, the trustees, but he is no longer a trustee so cannot make that statement on their behalf.
In any case, this consultation was several years ago and situations surrounding the matter may have changed due to policy changes.
This latest bid to support the house financially seems the golden opportunity to maintain Arundells in the manner intended.
It is a beautiful house with outstanding gardens, lots of history made by a man of great interest and another “jewel in the crown” for Salisbury.
We need to keep our reputation up and attract visitors into the city to bring muchneeded revenue. What we do not want is a rich entrepreneur with pots of money buying Arundells who may hold extravagant and noisy parties, which might happen if it were sold.
R Hayes, Salisbury
SIR Edward’s will makes no mention of the provision of scholarships in music and sailing as mentioned by Robert Key.
The will speaks only of Arundells, as a gift to the nation, being open to the public.
The scholarships are something invented by Mr Key and others who seek to close Arundells and sell it off, against the specific wishes of Sir Edward.
The will summary clearly stating his wishes can be viewed at our website thefriendsofarundells.org.uk or at The Charity Commission’s website under The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation.
The current plan submitted to the trustees by Mr Batey and his colleagues clearly suggests a sustainable way forward for Arundells as a centre for the study of politics and music, as well as a visitor attraction to be enjoyed by all, focusing on the many different aspects of Sir Edward’s life.
It is a pity that Mr Key doesn’t feel able to follow Sir Edward’s wishes and to give his full support to the plan currently being studied by the remaining trustees.
If Mr Key has always believed that the money from Sir Edward’s estate should be spent on scholarships, and not as Sir Edward clearly wanted, it begs the question why did he agree to become a trustee in the first place?
Surely the duty of the trustees is to follow the wishes expressed in the will, not follow their own personal agenda.
Gerald L Gibson, Salisbury