Plea to take to the streets in protest at closure of Stamford Museum

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PEOPLE are being urged to join a public demonstration to protest against plans to close Stamford museum at the end of this month.

Stamford Heritage Trust steering committee learned last week that its bid to take over the museum had failed when Lincolnshire County Council deemed its proposal to be unacceptable.

Now trust chairman, Stamford town and South Kesteven district councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing (LibDem), wants people in Stamford to come out on Saturday, June 25, to protest against the museum’s closure.

The museum will shut as part of the council’s cost-cutting plans and the authority will be spending £170,000 in creating a heritage “hub” in Stamford Library, in High Street.

Coun Bisnauthsing is asking people in Stamford to support the trust’s campaign to keep the museum open.

He said: “We need to have a positive campaign of disruption and protest to make them aware at the county council that Stamford people are not going to take this lying down.

“I would appeal to the people of Stamford to come out on June 25 in a mass protest.”

The 12-strong steering committee was formed after a meeting in February and put together a 59-page proposal and business plan. It raised £5,000 towards initial expenses.

Committee member Robert Vipan is calling for a meeting with the county council.

Town councillor Maureen Jalili (LibDem) said: “Hundreds of people supported the campaign for the museum to remain in its present premises when it was first threatened so I’m certain there will be a big demonstration if its closure can’t be averted.

“It’s the usual story. So far as Lincoln is concerned, Stamford is right off the map. We must fight for this regional inequality for all we are worth.”

Browne’s Hospital has offered to take on museum exhibits which are related to the hospital.

South Kesteven District Council owns the front museum building while the county council owns the back storage area.

The county has a lease to use the front building until September.

The district council’s head of assets Paul Stokes said: “Following the decision of the county council to reject alternative proposals to take over the running of Stamford Museum, we are reviewing other potential uses for the building. As we only received confirmation late last week, no decision has been made as yet.”

Executive member for cultural services Coun Eddy Poll (Con) said: “We’re more than happy to meet with the Stamford Heritage Trust to explain our concerns about the viability of their proposals, which we detailed in our letter to them.

“The bid we received was very similar to the original takeover plan and we would have liked to have seen more of the improvements we recommended at that stage.

“Of course, it’s disappointing that the trust has been unable to produce an acceptable proposal, but I hope that they will work with us on the creation of the hub in the library and generate interest in Stamford’s history and heritage.”

The decision was based on officers’ analysis of the bid.