COUNCILLORS unanimously voted in favour of a resolution to extend and amend Pendle Heritage Centre’s lease prior to its transfer from Pendle Borough Council to Barrowford Parish Council last night.
Negotiations were still taking place in the Council Chamber moments before the meeting started. Council Leader, Cllr Paul White, made a speech stressing the importance of the Heritage Centre’s commercial activities which entirely underpin the maintenance of its Listed buildings and the day-today running of its museum.
Cllr White explained: “We added an addendum to the amendment to enable the Heritage Centre to raise funds on the property, so it can expand and flourish, but are looking into how best to protect the surety of the site.”
The 1997 lease, which contains onerous clauses that the Heritage Centre management has been in technical breach of for some years, will be have a Deed of Variation to extend its duration to 100 years and, crucially, the sale of alcohol will be permitted. The types of events the Centre can hold were broadened, as long as the proceeds are spent to support its Heritage work in Pendle, including its collection of 90,000 objects.
Short stay lets in the Heritage Centre cottages and the franchising of catering outlets on site will also be permitted. A survey is being carried out on the drains, sewers, watercourses, pipes and cables on the Pendle Heritage Site with the intention that the Heritage Centre takes over their maintenance. The Heritage Trust is also permitted to seek voluntary contributions for parking on its Courtyard Car Park, but it will not be entitled to levy a parking charge.
Cllr Tony Greaves, who has been involved with the Heritage Centre since its inception 41 years ago, said: “When we resolved to transfer the lease to Barrowford Parish Council two years ago, the intention was that the Heritage Centre would be able to carry on just as it had under Pendle’s ownership. I sincerely hope this can now happen.”
Michael Bannister, whose family made Park Hill (the name of the house where the Heritage Centre is based) their home in the fifteenth century, said: “I am so very pleased this amendment has been agreed to ensure the future of the Heritage Centre.”
“The Heritage Centre is something of a miracle in museum circles”, said Sarah Cockburn-Price, Chairman of Trustees, “as it is self-sustaining. We run entirely without grants or Government funding, so our commercial activities are absolutely vital. I’d like to thank all the members of the public who supported us by voting in our on-line poll, by writing to councillors and by attending last night’s meeting – we wouldn’t have achieved this agreement without their support.”