The Formation of the Bletchley Park Trust
On 10 February 1992, the committee persuaded Milton Keynes Council to declare most of Bletchley Park a conservation area by ensuring Tree Preservation Orders had been secured on its trees. Three days later the Bletchley Park Trust was formed and embarked on complex and lengthy negotiations with the landowners PACE (Property Advisors to the Civil Estate), the government’s land agency, and British Telecom.
The small committee of local enthusiasts grew and recruited many more passionate supporters and volunteers until in 1994 the Bletchley Park Trust and its Chief Patron, HRH The Duke of Kent, opened the site to the public, as a museum, every other weekend. Although the landowners had withdrawn all planning applications there was still no protection from the hostile bids of property developers. The future of the Park remained hanging in the balance for five years until 10 June 1999 when the Bletchley Park Trust, secured a pioneering deal with the landowners. The Trust was awarded a 250 year leasehold of the core historic areas of the Park with an option to purchase it for a nominal sum 25 years later. The battle was not over but this was a hugely significant step towards saving Bletchley Park for the nation.