Public meeting on Ilkley’s Manor House Museum’s future

Councillor Brian Mann, who is calling for people to have a say on the future of the museum

Councillor Brian Mann, who is calling for people to have a say on the future of the museum

First published in News Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A bid is being launched in earnest to decide the future of Ilkley’s Manor House Museum, after little progress in talks over a community management scheme.

With just ten months remaining until a current agreement and funding from Ilkley Parish Council comes to an end, there are fears the historic museum could once again find itself at risk of closure.

Bradford Council shelved plans to transfer the museum, on Castle Yard, to community management scheme as part of cuts this financial year.

Ilkley Parish Council stepped in with £13,000 of its own funding, and supporters group The Friends of the Manor House gathered volunteers to supplement Bradford Council staff, keeping the museum open for at least another year.

But concerns have grown among the parish council that no community management scheme – and people to lead – has yet been put forward.

They fear current Bradford Council staffing could come to an end next April.

The Parish Council has called a public meeting on June 12, calling on townspeople to give their views on how the museum could be managed – and seeking potential volunteers to head such a scheme.

Councillor Brian Mann, who has been in talks with interested parties, said: “There is concern about the future of the Manor House. There are three groups that are currently active. We got together last Friday just to identify common ground and more importantly to identify any common direction in which we would like to go.

“Out of that we decided that a public meeting would be the best way forward.”

He added: “We just feel that it’s high time that the good citizens of Ilkley had their say, as it were.”

The Friends of the Manor House has always stressed it was set up as a group to support the museum, and is not constituted to manage the museum itself.

It is understood another group has been involved in discussions options for the future management of the museum, but has not put forward a scheme.

The meeting will take place at the Clarke Foley Centre, Cunliffe Road on Thursday, June 12, starting at 7.45pm.

Councillor Mike Gibbons, who was until last week chairman of Ilkley Parish Council, was also involved in talks last week.

He brokered the deal with Bradford Council earlier this year to ensure the museum stayed open.

He said: “I will say, we have to be clear that there are only ten months left before we back into the same crisis position.”

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