The National Trust has seen a record number of members turn out to vote in its Annual General Meeting, with more than 156,000 members voting on four resolutions and electing five members of the organisation’s Council.
A total of four resolutions put to members included two from campaign group Restore Trust; a resolution for the removal of the National Trust’s ‘Quick Vote’ option for voters, and a resolution on the approach to the restoration of Clandon House in Guilford after a fire at the property.
The group claims that the National Trust’s ‘Quick Vote’ option – which allows those voting at the meeting to do so in line with trustees – “invites members to take the simplified route of following its own preferences.”
It also argued that the restoration of Clandon House, which was ravaged by fire in 2015, “should include not only conservation and roofing” but “as an absolute minimum, the restoration and recreation of the Marble Hall, with the restoration of other important interiors following as funds allow.”
Neither of the group’s resolutions were carried.
The campaign group’s preferred candidates were also unsuccessful in securing votes to join the National Trust Council, the governing body which appoints trustees and helps to monitor its work.
Voted through instead were James Dixon, Inga Grimsey, Sarah Hollingdale and Michael Salter-Church who were reelected to the council, and Simon Kearey, who was elected.
René Olivieri, Chair of the National Trust’s Board of Trustees, said: “Our AGM is a celebration of everything it means to be a National Trust member. Membership means different things to different people: for some, the value lies in contributing to the protection of our national heritage. For others, it is a safe and beautiful space to spend time with loved ones, or to get that sense of still and quiet our founder, Octavia Hill, knew was so important.”
Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, added: “I’m very proud of our democratic traditions at the National Trust. The AGM is not the only way that members can express their views – this week, we concluded the largest ever consultation on our work and direction as part of our ongoing strategy review. But the AGM is the biggest, regular forum we have for conversation with our members on our charitable purpose.
“As another AGM draws to a close, it’s important for us to reflect on the questions, observations and experiences that members have shared with us today.”