‘Speak out over future of Ilkley museum’ appeal to public

Ilkley Gazette: Manor House Museum Manor House Museum

A group which has supported Ilkley’s Manor House Museum for 50 years is calling on townspeople to comment on Bradford Council’s budget proposals, in a bid to keep the museum in local authority hands.

The Friends of the Manor House say they will work with the council and other interested parties if it goes ahead with plans to transfer the Castle Yard museum and art gallery to a community management scheme.

But the group maintains its position that the Grade I listed historic building should stay with Bradford Museums and Galleries, with some paid staff and volunteers. It is calling on its members to officially comment on Bradford Council’s budget proposals for 2014 to 2016 and encourage as many others as possible to do so.

The Friends say residents have until the end of January to make their comments. The council is set to finalise its budget on February 20. Friends chairman, John Cockshott, said: “It was made clear that if nothing is happening by April then the Manor House could well be mothballed, which could mean permanently, and ultimately sold off.”

The Friends was among bodies which met senior Bradford Council museums and estates management officers last week. Mr Cockshott said: “The basic message was that Bradford is open to any creative ideas about how to reconfigure arrangements at the Manor House and its associated cottages, which could address the £60,000 per annum savings that they were seeking.”

Mr Cockshott says the group will continue to work with the council to deal with the risk of the museum leaving council hands. “If it does, we shall try to ensure that a plan does emerge which is robust and realistic and retains as many features of the current way of doing things as possible. We understand that Bradford will be providing a series of meetings to facilitate people coming together and coming up with something,” he said.

Bradford Council’s Assistant Director of Cultural Services, Tony Stephens, said: “The meeting with interested parties about the future of the Manor House was very positive and showed how much local support there is for the Ilkley museum and art gallery.”

Comments on Bradford Council budget proposals can be found online at bradford.gov.uk/surveys/2014-2016Budget/budget_consultation_2014_2016.htm.

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