Huntingdon’s Cromwell Museum to be taken over by independent trust

PUBLISHED: 13:04 17 July 2014 | UPDATED: 13:04 17 July 2014

The Cromwell Museum petition is handed in at Shire Hall by (left) Bob Pugh.

The Cromwell Museum petition is handed in at Shire Hall by (left) Bob Pugh.

Archant

An independent charitable trust is to take over the Cromwell Museum after members of Cambridgeshire County Council voted in favour of the move - and Huntingdon Town Council has offered to take on the building it’s housed in.

The Huntingdon High Street heritage asset had been earmarked for closure by the county as it sought to make budget cuts.

It was given a reprieve after thousands signed a petition demanding a re-think.

A report was commissioned into its future governance which suggested setting up a trust.

The county council’s Highways and Community Infrastructure committee yesterday (Tuesday) agreed to the change, along with leasing the museum to the trust for 25 years.

It will also lease storage space at Huntingdon Library at a discounted rate for five years, after which the trust will be expected to pay the full price.

Any redundancies resulting from the change will be covered by CCC.

Money from the Cromwell Museum Art Fund, some £15,800, will be used to help set up the trust. Meanwhile, Huntingdon Town Council has said it will take on the former grammar school building and lease it back to the trust at a peppercorn rent. It had also offered to make an annual grant to the trust.

County councillor Peter Downes, chairman of the museum’s management committee, who spoke at the meeting along with committee vice chairman Sir Peter Brown and Angela White Horan of the museum’s Friends group, said: “We spoke very strongly to advise the committee of the feeling within Huntingdon that the museum must be saved. It was a positive meeting.”

He said the next step was to start the process of establishing a trust, so that the museum could proceed on a “stable and long-term footing”.

The town council’s offer is to be the subject of further debate at a county council meeting later this year.

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