£13,00 boost for Manor House museum’s future rescue package

Ilkley Gazette: Ilkley Parish Council chairman, Councillor Mike Gibbons Ilkley Parish Council chairman, Councillor Mike Gibbons

Extra money has been given to a rescue package for the Manor House in a bid to get serious plans off the ground for the Ilkley museum’s future.

Ilkley Parish Council this week formally agreed its £13,000 part of a deal with Bradford Council to keep the museum and art gallery open for at least another year.

The money, from the parish council’s own reserves, is accompanied by an extra £1,000 designed to help supporters’ group The Friends of the Manor House explore community management options.

Parish councillors recently reached a deal with Bradford Council to keep local authority funding in the museum for another 12 months. The museum was at risk of being “mothballed” if Bradford went ahead with earlier budget proposals to withdraw all its staff.

Supporters of the Manor House claimed there was insufficient time to draw up a community management plan and put it into action – although dozens of people have already volunteered to help out, working alongside Council staff.

But parish council chairman, Councillor Mike Gibbons, has warned that a plan for the management of the historic Castle Yard museum needs to be thought out soon.

“It’s clear there are thoughts under way already for putting together a proposal for a sustainable future,” he said.

However, he said groups such as the Friends of the Manor House, and other interested parties, needed to look at plans for the Manor House – and pots of money such as heritage lottery funding – as soon as possible.

Coun Gibbons added: “We don’t want to get through this year to find ourselves in the position were we have this Sword of Damocles hanging over the Manor House where we’re still talking about closure.”

Councillor Joanne Sugden asked for the parish council to be given regular feedback on progress by the groups involved in talks about the museum.

The £13,000 funding agreed by the parish council on Monday is half the running costs for one year, as agreed recently with Bradford Council museums heads.

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