Row over Hall restoration

Councillors have called for the removal of the boss of the management team behind the restoration of Lytham Hall.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:48 am
Lytham Hall

It’s the latest dramatic turn in Fylde Council’s quest for answers following the announcement by the Heritage Lottery Fund last summer that it was rescinding a £1.7m grant towards the restoration project.

That decision was taken after it emerged that the capital works for which the cash was earmarked had not taken place.

Fylde Council put £300,000 towards the project to restore the Grade I listed mansion to its former glory which was initially set to cost £5.9m, but has had to be scaled back after the loss of the Heritage Lottery grant.

Heritage Trust North West (HTNW), which manages the Hall on behalf of owners Lytham Town Trust, has resisted calls for an auditor’s report into why the lottery cash was rescinded to be made public.

And now, after mounting an inquiry of its own, Fylde’s tourism and leisure committee has issued a list of 12 conditions for its contribution to remain in place, including the removal of HTNW chief executive John Miller and the threat of legal action if the conditions aren’t followed.

Among the other items approved by the committee were:

That the committee seeks reassurance, with supporting evidence, from the HTNW Board that they have the capability and appropriate personnel to continue to deliver the Lytham Hall restoration project, in particular an appropriately qualified financial officer, without which the committee cannot have confidence in HTNW delivering the Lytham Hall Restoration Project;

That the management of the Lytham Hall restoration project includes separate and dedicated accounting and financial management from other projects being delivered by HTNW.

Fylde Council leader Coun Sue Fazackerley said: “We are looking forward to an exciting new chapter in the history of Lytham Hall and to working with Heritage Trust North West and other partners to submit a further bid for its restoration.”

John Turner, trustee of Heritage Trust North West and member of the Lytham Hall executive, said: “Lytham Town Trust invited HTNW to assist them with the management of Lytham Hall in 1997 when they acquired the property.

“That National Trust had already been approached and had declined because they required the Hall to be given to them plus an endowment 20 times the value, i.e. £20m.

“The trustees strongly refute all the accusations made against it and the chief executive by the council.

“The trustees hope that in the interests of the Lytham Hall project all this bickering and point scoring can stop and all parties can get on with the restoration of the Hall.”

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£1.7m Lytham Hall funding blow as Lottery bosses withdraw grant