Ledbury Places group draws up a business plan to attract funding for town's treasures

Ledbury Reporter: One idea is to put a life in the market house. One idea is to put a life in the market house.

THE Ledbury Places group has it has drawn up a business plan which will be used to apply for grants and other funding, in a bid to secure the future of six key town centre buildings.

One controversial idea in the business plan is to put a lift into Ledbury's market House, the town's iconic building.

Other buildings discussed in the plan include the Barrett Browning Institute, Burgage Hall, the Town Council Offices, Butchers Row House Museum and the Heritage Centre.

The plan is the end result of a feasibility study, commissioned last year, to examine the potential for these six buildings to be jointly managed by a new charitable entity.

Copies of the business plan can be viewed in the town library, and can be viewed on line at www.ledburyplaces.org

The aims of the plan include looking at new potential uses for the buildings if they were managed as a group; testing the viability of these uses both financially and in terms of community benefit; looking in detail at the condition of the buildings and the ongoing cost of their preservation; and also working out whether the income from new proposed uses would be sufficient to cover maintenance and other costs.

The Ledbury Place project is being led by the Ledbury Civic Society and its chairman, Alex Clive said: "We have worked very hard through the feasibility study to develop this business plan for the benefit of the whole community in Ledbury. The plan sees a number of proposals put forward but in such a way that we have tried to give ourselves as many options as possible to maintain flexibility while seeking funding.

“At present our business plan does include the potential of securing funding to install a lift in the Market House and also the possibility of converting Number 1 Church Lane into a holiday let, while maintaining good structured public access to the Painted Room.

“However, I would like to reassure people that this doesn’t mean that any decisions have been made about these options and that we fully understand local concerns about possibilities such as these. Because of this we are determined to consult further with local people on all our plans."

“As I said earlier, public consultation about Ledbury Places has not ended and local people should still make the most of the opportunity to have their say. Furthermore, please feel free to contact us via the Ledbury Places website or via the Town Council if you’d like to offer any observations after reading the business plan.”

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