Last weekend it was an absolute pleasure to join in the Mallard celebrations.
A huge thanks must go to everyone involved in organising this event, which broke expectations in visitor numbers. During a discussion with a library campaigner yesterday, who was also a visitor to the Mallard event, I was asked, ‘Why was the Grantham Museum closed on such an important day?’
The resident from Bourne had left the Mallard celebrations around the station and walked down with his family via The George Centre and on to our Museum, fully expecting it to be open. But its doors were firmly closed.
When we had reviewed plans for the Mallard event in the South Kesteven District Council communities policy committee I had raised concerns that the plans should ensure visitors would be drawn into our town so that the economic benefit may be shared across the community and that visitors may enjoy more that Grantham has to offer.
Reassurances were given that this would be the case. But one of our most high profile buildings, which should be available to display our history and heritage, was not used.
Not so long ago we could have protested at the closed museum and those running it would be accountable to us. That was when the museum was run by Lincolnshire County Council. Now we may question the use of our important town asset but we have become reliant upon those running it to deliver the service we want and they are not directly accountable to us.
And if they do not. What then? This is a key question because as I write across the county Lincolnshire County Council is planning to close all but 15 of its 45 library buildings. Each building a key asset for our towns and providing vital services.
We are being told by the county council that it will be acceptable for volunteers to step forward and takeover the sites or lose them.
But, given what has happened to our own museum, is it? And, is it acceptable for a council which promises to protect frontline services, to irreversibly remove local library provision for so many across our county? I don’t think so.