The Ilkley Manor House Group has come together to take on the Manor House for the community as a heritage and arts centre. The Friends support the Group and several of us have joined it.
As mentioned in last week’s Ilkley Gazette, Bradford Council has agreed to grant a short term tenancy of the Manor House to the Group. This should provide time for the Group to complete its constitutional process, work up its business plans and identify funding. The Council states that it "supports the proposal for a transfer of the Manor House to the Ilkley Manor House Group in the longer term... a staged approach to the transfer would be the best solution for all parties."
THE MANOR HOUSE IS
A group of local people has come together with a fresh proposal to Bradford to preserve the Manor House and broaden its use by the community. The group includes former Ilkley MP Ann Cryer and Cllr Brian Mann, Chairman of the Ilkley Parish Council.
The Chairman of the Group, Sir Rodney Brooke said:
"The Manor House is at the heart of Ilkley. It is the most historic building in the district. We strongly believe that it should not be sold for private use but should be available for use by the community. By combining a cafe with community use - whilst also preserving an exhibition space for some of the town's most important artefacts - we believe that the Manor House can have a financially sustainable future and will be a wonderful facility for the people of Ilkley.
We plan to establish a charitable trust to run the Manor House. Our strategy includes the installation of a lift and the incorporation of disabled toilets. A number of local groups have expressed their support for our plans and their enthusiasm for using the Manor House for their events and meetings.
We have put our proposal to Bradford Council culture portfolio holder Susan Hinchcliffe. We believe that entrusting the Manor House to safe and sustainable hands will be the outcome which the Council seeks. As soon as we hear the decision of the Bradford Council we shall convene a public meeting to put our proposals before the people of Ilkley, to seek their views and to launch a public appeal".
As well as Mrs Cryer, Cllr Mann and Sir Rodney Brooke, the new group includes Rachel Feldberg (Director of the Ilkley Literature Festival), Ruth Pitt (former Head of documentaries at Granada TV and a creative director of documentaries at the BBC), John Cockshott (Chairman of the Friends of the Manor House), Parish Councillor Henri Murison, Helen Kidman (Chair, Ilkley Civic Society), Peter Chadwick (solicitor specialising in charities), Jo Powell (Leeds Business School), Sarah Thomas (Chair, Ilkley Arts), Tim Blott (until recently managing director of Newsquest Scotland) and Vincent Dobson (architectural consultant).