March 12 2014 Latest news:
Monday, December 23, 2013
A campaign is underway to save Huntingdon’s Cromwell Museum from closure after it was named in a list of potential county council cuts.
The High Street heritage asset, widely regarded as the town’s most important tourist attraction, could close by the end of 2014.
Cambridgeshire County Council says closing it would save £20,000 in 2015/16, part of its plans to slash £149million from the budget by 2019.
In response, supporters of the museum have urged people to back their efforts to keep it open.
The Friends of the Cromwell Museum, a group set up earlier this year, wants people to contact the county council, particularly Councillor David Harty, the cabinet member for education and learning, and chief executive Mark Lloyd, to express concerns about the threat to the museum’s future.
Friends group chairman Victor Lucas said Cromwell was a son of Cambridgeshire and of importance to the entire county. He also warned that the uncertainty hanging over the museum could see it lose some of its artefacts.
“Most of the items are on loan from descendents of Cromwell,” he said. “We have continuing loan arrangements due for renewal next summer. If there’s no assurance by then they could be lost to Cambridgeshire forever.”
Richard Meredith, of Huntingdon and Godmanchester Civic Society, said the museum was of national and international importance.
“As a Huntingdonian, I think it’s disgraceful Cambridgeshire County Council is considering closing this museum,” he added. “It illustrates yet again how Cambridgeshire treats Huntingdonshire shoddily and sees us as a milk cow.
“It wants to use us to build housing, but we have something unique and they want to get rid of it.”
Cllr Harty, who represents Little Paxton and St Neots North on the county council, said he had received a number of letters in support of retaining the museum, but admitted axing its funding had to be considered.
“We are having to save in all areas of the county council,” he said. “We do not want to lose the value the museum provides but we need to continue to save money.”
Cllr Harty said the proposed timescale attached to the potential closure meant there was 18 months to find an alternative way to run the museum.
INFORMATION: For more on the campaign, visit http://savethecromwellmuseum.org.