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Museum Bid For Heritage Lottery Funding Fails Again

Guildford Museum

Guildford Museum

A bid for nearly £2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a “heritage hub” to be based at Guildford Museum has been rejected.

Reports that the bid had failed were confirmed today (April 16) by a spokesman for the fund. He wrote: “In March 2015 the Heritage Lottery Fund assessed a £1,991,400 first-round pass application from Guildford Borough Council [GBC] for plans to create a heritage hub for Guildford. After careful consideration it was decided that the Fund was unable to support the project.”

The spokesman said that he was unable to give any further details: “Due it being the restricted period in the run-up to the general election.”

An earlier bid for £4 million at a national level failed in October 2013. The council was advised to apply at a regional level at which awards of up to £2 million can be made.

Guildford Museum 02The rejection leaves the future of the museum uncertain. Under the plan it was hoped to increase footfall within the museum significantly by closely linking, with a new entrance, the museum, the castle and the Castle Grounds.

Cllr Angela Gunning (Labour group leader, Stoke) said: “This is disappointing news.”

Cllr Gordon Jackson (Con Pirbright), the lead councillor for economic development under which the museum falls, Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem group leader, Friary & St Nicolas) and were also invited to comment. None have been received.

The HLF has been criticised in the past for some of its decisions. In 2013 it rejected a bid for £92,900 from a branch of the Royal British Legion to expand its 2014 Real Poppy Campaign to distribute seeds to be sown across the country in time for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict.

Former military leaders and politicians attacked the fund organisers after it emerged that it had awarded £95,800 to the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), to raise awareness of the role of conscientious objectors during the war. The HLF had approached the PPU and urged them to apply.

In Guildford, a bid for £3,000 to the HLF for funding from the organisers of the hugely successful Stoughton in the Great War event held at Cardwells Keep in September 2014 was rejected. One of the reasons being that there was not enough provision for educational purposes. Funding was then successfully given by Surrey County Councillor Pauline Searle from her ‘member’s allowance’. Among those who took part in the event were scores of pupils from Stoughton Nursery and Infant School and Northmead Junior School. The event was packed full of local history displays put on by local people and local historians.

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