A review is to be carried out into the viability of finding alternative funding to run Huntingdon’s Cromwell Museum.

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Cambridgeshire County Council has suggested it will scrap its financial support for the heritage asset from 2015/16.

Following a Cromwell Museum Management Committee meeting last Tuesday (January 7), it announced that £5,000 of public money, a grant from the Arts Council, was being spent on hiring consultants to consider options to keep the museum open.

Crucially, the review is due to be completed by April, by which time the council is expected to have agreed its business plan, which includes axing funding for the museum.

Campaigners have called on the authority to postpone any decision until the consultants’ report has been published.

A spokesman for the Friends of the Cromwell Museum said: “We strongly feel that no decision on the future of the museum should be taken until that review has been received and considered.”

The business plan, which outlines how the council intends to cut £149million from its budget by 2019, was due to be discussed at yesterday’s (Tuesday) cabinet meeting. The full council is due to rubber stamp the proposals on February 18.

People have been urged to sign two petitions, calling on the council to reconsider. If 3,000 people sign an e-petition, it will force a county council debate. As of yesterday, it had nearly 750 signatures.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s cabinet member for education and learning, Councillor David Harty, said the authority had been committed to looking at other options to keep the museum open.

“The council has to make £149m worth of savings over the next five years, so we’ve had to look hard at non statutory services – which includes the museum,” he added. “We still hope it’s possible to find someone else to run and manage it at no cost to the tax payer and we have until next year to explore this.”

INFORMATION: Visit http://savethecromwellmuseum.org.

1 comment

  • Oliver Cromwell was Cambridgeshire through and through and, arguably, the greatest Englishman who ever lived. He was born at Huntingdon, educated at Huntingdon Grammar School (where the Cromwell Museum is now housed), and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He lived at Ely for ten years and was MP for Cambridge before moving to London to become Lord Protector. His family members lived and died at Spinney Abbey, Wicken, and also here (where I live) at Soham. With Cromwell having such strong local connections, Soham Town Council agreed with a plea from me on Monday and will write to support the Cromwell Museum continuing to be owned and run by the County Council. That's what we want: none of this 'hiving off' of something so precious as the Cromwell Museum.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Friday, January 17, 2014

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