Today (21 March), Shropshire Council announced that it will not after all be insisting that Ludlow spends its £120,000 grant for the new museum at the Buttercross by 31 March (see backstory). This means that the threat to the project, and the knock-on impacts on the Assembly Rooms redevelopment, have been removed.
This morning, Mark Pemberton, Service Manager for Business and Enterprise, Shropshire Council sent an email to Ludlow Town Council announcing:
“The position is that you will be able to continue to spend your Market Towns Revitalisation Programme grant until 30th June 2014 as per your contract.”
This is excellent news. It has been what everyone in Ludlow has been hoping and pressing for. Now we can finish our new museum, a project vital for our tourist economy. The relocation of the museum will also free up space in the Assembly Rooms, allowing it to create a new entrance and strengthen its role as our main cultural centre.
Everyone wins from this decision. I am still puzzled why this row blew up in the first place. It was always common sense to roll over the grant to the next financial year. I hope that Shropshire Council will work more closely with Ludlow and its councillors in the future to prevent a repeat of a situation like this.
The onus is now on the town council to ensure the Buttercross project is completed by the end of June.