We had the money for the Buttercross museum project, and then we didn’t. Then we had it again, but now we haven’t. It’s madness and it’s bad for Ludlow.

Shropshire Council has once again changed the rules for funding Ludlow’s Buttercross museum project. It first said that the current grant had to be spent by 31 March, three months earlier than stated in its contract with Ludlow Town Council. Then it backtracked and agreed that the money could be spent as agreed in the contract by the end of June. Now Shropshire Council has changed the rules again.

Ludlow Town Council believes the work to move the museum into the Buttercross will take until September to complete. It’s been told to rebid for money beyond June along with other projects. A number of other projects have already overspent, so there will not be enough money to go around. There is every danger that there will not be enough finance to complete the Buttercross project. Meanwhile, Ludlow Town Council can’t place some contracts for the work because it doesn’t know if it will have enough funding.

The last thing Ludlow needs is a roller coaster of uncertainty. Every week the rules change for the Buttercross grant change.

It doesn’t happen this way in Shrewsbury. Only last week, Shropshire Council said it had overspent on Shrewsbury Museum by £200,000 – that’s just a few months after the council said the project was on budget. The museum didn’t have to bid for that money. It was nodded through.

When it comes to the Buttercross, Shropshire Council is more concerned with penny pinching. It cares more about its bureaucracy than promoting local economies. It has become so consumed by its internal angst over budgets that it no longer acts in the best interests of Shropshire’s people and economy.

Shropshire Council should just give Ludlow Town Council the full grant for the Buttercross. It must stop messing around and start acting in the best interests of Ludlow.

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