VisitEngland’s former Chief Executive James Berresford has been appointed Chair of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust.
The three-year role will see Mr Berresford lead the Trust which will:
• Protect the Crescent and spa buildings for future generations
• Establish and manage the associated visitor attractions focussing on the town’s unique spa heritage
The £50 million project to restore the famous Georgian Crescent to full use as a thermal spa and 5-star hotel and heritage centre is being funded by a £23.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, alongside funding from High Peak Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council, Historic England, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and developer Buxton Crescent Hotel and Thermal Spa Co Ltd.
With the main construction contract now underway, establishing the Trust is a vital part of the next stage of the project.
Mr Berresford has dedicated his working life to tourism becoming the first Chief Executive of the national tourist board VisitEngland where he delivered the first national tourism strategy for England. Prior to that he was Director of Tourism at the North West Development Agency for eight years and has managed major cultural programmes and multi-million pound business development and marketing initiatives.
He said: “I’m both thrilled and honoured to have been appointed Chair of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust. The project is one of national, if not international, standing and its success will help drive the continued resurgence of Buxton and the wider Peak District as leading visitor destinations.
“I was born in Derbyshire and this position, along with my recent appointment to the Board of local leisure firm Pinelog Ltd, will hopefully allow me to make a real contribution to the county I love.”
Councillor Tony Kemp, Executive Councillor for Regeneration and Tourism at the Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to have James on board. He has the demonstrable expertise and experience to guide this important element of the Crescent regeneration project.
“We are all very much looking forward to working with him to consolidate Buxton’s position as England’s leading spa town. I have every confidence that under his leadership we’ll establish a strong Trust which is able to deliver heritage and spa experiences for both residents and visitors that keep people coming back to Buxton time and time again.”
Councillor Caitlin Bisknell, Derbyshire County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Buxton Crescent Trustee, added: “Appointing James is a major step for the Crescent and we look forward to harnessing his knowledge in taking the project forward, especially in ensuring that local people are kept fully engaged and informed.
“We’re confident the Crescent development will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Buxton and the High Peak, boosting the local economy and providing another fantastic reason to visit Derbyshire.”
Trustees will represent the varied aspects of the scheme including heritage and architecuture, tourism and cultural services, skills and training and local business.
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands said: “This appointment is great news for the project. James has a strong track record in leadership roles and I’m delighted that he will be dedicating all his knowledge and expertise to ensuring the flagship project at Buxton Crescent is a success.”
For more information visit the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa website http://buxtoncrescent.com/