I feel I should write on behalf of Stamford Heritage Trust to explain exactly what’s been going on to the many scores of people who have offered their support during the last few months.
At a well-attended public meeting held in February it was unanimously agreed that strenuous efforts should be made to save Stamford Museum from the threatened closure of its present premises as a result of Lincolnshire County Council’s withdrawal of funding.
A steering committee was thereupon appointed to draw up proposals for the museum to continue – but run largely on voluntary lines: A plan similar to ones that had previously gained the county’ approval for museums in Grantham and Skegness.
In readiness for this, the committee has already registered the trust as a non-profit- making company; applied for charitable status; raised about £5,000 in donations; recruited numerous volunteers and then submitted a detailed 58-page document to Lincoln outlining our scheme for assuming responsibility.
It was genuinely felt this was exactly the sort of initiative David Cameron was urging local communities to make when advocated a Big Society.
Despite all its efforts, the steering committee members were shocked and dismayed to find these proposals turned down flat, apparently on the say-so of one County Hall official – Jonathan Platt, head of libraries, heritage, economy and culture.
Regrettably, all our subsequent attempts to appeal against this seemingly perverse decision, face-to-face with him and those elected members of the county council concerned, have so far proved entirely fruitless.
It seems everyone in Lincoln is determined that Stamford Museum’s doors in Broad Street will finally slam shut, once and for all, next Thursday.
In a last-ditch effort to raise public awareness of this rebuff the steering committee had hoped to mount a protest demonstration outside the building on the Saturday afternoon before its closure.
Unfortunately it is now realised that this would clash with the Stamford Festival’s parade organised by the Kiwanis. We don’t want to impose a note of controversy on what is intended as a joyous occasion so we shall be exploring other ways of bringing our frustration, disappointment and bewilderment to those in authority in the hope of still making someone see sense – even as the axe seems about to fall.
Stamford Heritage Trust
Star Lane Mews, Stamford
I have been visiting Stamford most years for the past quarter century and have always enjoyed your town’s museum.
It was a terrible shock when I was in town last week to discover that it is to close.
I gather that there are plans to mount some manner of exhibitions in what sounds to me like a cupboard in the library – but it will hardly be the same.
Surely a town as important as Stamford deserves a proper, permanent repository for its history and culture?
I would have thought that the people of the town would have risen up to insist that Lincolnshire County Council reverses this decision.
If they do, then they will certainly have my support.
Constable Road, Ipswich