A meeting of organisations working towards the future of Ilkley’s Manor House Museum has been called, amid new concerns that plans are not moving ahead quickly enough.
Ilkley Parish Council committed £13,000 in a last-minute deal to prevent Bradford Council mothballing the historic building, on Castle Yard, this financial year, and keep it running for at least another 12 months.
It called on supporters’ group the Friends of the Manor House and other interested parties to begin work in earnest on a community management scheme to ensure the future of the museum in a year’s time.
But doubts are growing about progress on a plan to save to museum.
Parish councillors have now called for an urgent meeting with a group drawing up plans for a “cultural quarter” of Ilkley, in a bid to get plans moving ahead.
The parish council’s representative to the Friends of the Manor House, Councillor Brian Mann, fears signs are emerging that Bradford Council may close the museum in a year’s time.
Councillor Brian Mann said: “They’re not taking bookings after April, 2015, and also, leaflets advertising the Manor House are not going to be reprinted.
“I feel the situation is drifting. I also feel strongly the council has put a considerable sum of money into the venture for this financial year and we’ve no control on what's going on, apart from me being the council representative on the Friends.”
Coun Mann said the Friends group, while happy to continue supporting the museum providing volunteers to work alongside paid staff, had “no ambitions whatsoever” to be involved with management functions.
He said another group is currently looking at the possibility of forming a community management scheme, making the Manor House central to a cultural quarter for the town.
Parish council chairman, Councillor Mike Gibbons, who brokered the deal with Bradford Council to keep the museum open for another year in exchange for a funding contribution of £13,000 from the parish council, said he had previously made it clear the parish council funding was to buy the community 12 months to come up with a sustainable proposition for the museum.”
He asked for the meeting to take place as soon as possible. “It’s vitally important that work is underway and they get on with it,” said Coun Gibbons.