I noticed that the Maritime museum was no longer open for part of the week and so contacted Preston Steam Trust who are responsible for it.
They told me that the council had stopped responding to their requests to finalise their lease and so they couldn’t really do anything but close the museum until they heard from the council.
This is a great pity as the museum had plans for a series of events throughout the summer, and the people involved in these would need booking now and the organisation of these would need to take place in the winter.
They had also hoped to use the winter both to do essential repair work to the museum (last time I was there I nearly put my foot through the floor in the office) and to expand the area in the Clock House available to display exhibits.
Obviously they can’t do any of this without some sort of security of tenure.
I rather got the impression that they were becoming disheartened by the continual series of delays while the council stall the issue.
Another problem for the steam trust is that they can’t get any grant money without security of tenure for the Clock House.
My understanding of the situation and please correct this if I am wrong, is that the steam trust offered to either lease the Clock House from the council or to buy it outright from the council, with a clause in the sale documents that the building had to be used as a museum in perpetuity.
The council then offered them a 99 year lease to which the steam trust agreed.
The council then put the building on the asset disposal list, Ramsgate people and the local paper made a fuss, answered the consultation that they wanted the building kept as a museum and in the end the council took it of the asset disposal list.
Now we all thought that this was the end of the story and that we were going to get our museum, this no longer seems to be the case.
I asked the council what on earth is going on and here is the answer that I got.
“The position regarding the Clock-Tower Building, occupied by the Steam Trust is as follows. The subject was discussed by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny (Asset Management Working Party) in view of the length of lease sought by the Trust.
The Working Party concluded that the long term future of the Clock-Tower Building should be considered within the context of the Port and Marina Masterplan. The point being that the structure is part of the Port Estate, and therefore its future should be considered in the context of how it contributes to Port and Marina business and operation.”
I take this to mean that as the council that now has plans afoot to get an outside commercial organisation in to run the port and harbour they would like to hang on to this iconic building, in case if they find a company to run the harbour, that company fancies this iconic building for their offices.
Oh and yes I nearly forgot here are today’s pictures http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts1210/id5.htm