PUBLIC consultation as to whether a lift should be installed in the Market House will not take place until next year.

There will be no consultation, and no mock lift to give people a sense of how it will look, until the outcome of a grant application is known, after January 2015.

Alex Clive, Chairman of the Ledbury and District Civic Society and a member of the Ledbury Places steering group said the main focus was on putting together best possible bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to be submitted by the end of August.

Mr Clive said:“Over the course of the summer we had hoped to carry out a consultation exercise relating to the possible installation of a lift at the Market House. This proposal is being considered not only to improve access, but, equally significantly, to potentially allow this iconic building to be used for a much wider variety of events or even as the town’s main heritage centre and focal point for visitors and local people alike.

“However, after taking advice, we have been advised that this type of detailed consultation is not necessary prior to the grant application and best carried out once the result of the grant application is known."

But he added: “So that it remains an option, we will go ahead and apply for funding to install a lift in the Market House. However, I would like to reassure the local community that we will consult about this fully if our grant application is successful and that there is no definite commitment to the installation of the lift just because it is included in the grant application."

Mr Clive added: "There are many elements to Ledbury Places and that the project as a whole is a great opportunity for the town to take advantage of substantial grant funding towards protecting and providing a sustainable future for some of its most beautiful assets – the Barrett Browning Institute, the Heritage Centre, the Town Council offices, the Butcher Row House Museum, Burgage Hall and the Market House.

“This project provides a unique opportunity for our town to protect some of its most beautiful assets by taking advantage of significant grant funding that could be made available to us. Many of the buildings are in urgent need of restoration work while as a community we must try to make better use of them to ensure their long term viability and sustainability."