The Manor House is gifted to the community by local benefactor Percy Dalton as an art gallery and museum. It’s a building of great historic interest and remains in public use for exhibitions, displays and meetings well into the twenty first century, latterly attracting up to 17,000 visitors per annum.
When Bradford Metropolitan District Council announces that funding for the building will cease due to lack of funds, a number of local residents get together to form the New Manor House Group and start campaigning for funding to explore ways of saving it. Support for various options is sought at public meetings and other events.
The New Manor House Group secures council funding for a feasibility study to consider options for the Manor House and to find a preferred partner to take over the running of the building. The feasibility study shows a clear consensus for safeguarding the building and suggests it can be viable as a community resource.
BMDC, with support from the New Manor House Group, appoints the adjacent All Saints Church as preferred partner from a number of applications. The New Manor House Group is then duly wound up, its function fulfilled.
Six months after becoming preferred supplier, All Saints Church announces it’s unable to take its plans further. With no alternative forthcoming, a new community group is established to explore new ways to save the building.
The Ilkley Manor House Trust is formed to safeguard the Manor House and begins negotiations with BMDC to take the building on as a community asset. The plan is to utilize the building on an interim basis whilst an ambitious application for funds to develop the Manor House is made to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Bradford City Council gives the green light for the Manor House site to be taken over by the local community and run as a community asset.
The proposal to transfer the building to the Ilkley Manor House Trust is officially accepted by Bradford City Council and final touches are put to the transfer of the property to the Trust, with a short initial period of development and a 50 year lease thereafter.
The Manor House reopens for the community, officially opened by Alan Titchmarsh (Patron of the Ilkley Manor House Trust). The trustees have signed the lease documents for taking over the lovely building and cottages.
Some have argued that Ilkley currently punches below its weight as a tourism and leisure destination. We believe that our plan will broaden the town’s appeal, creating a unified site and building on strategic partnerships with arts, culture, heritage and leisure sector organisations. We know from the previous feasibility study undertaken in 2014/15 that there is a real appetite for safeguarding the building for public and private usage, including education, exhibition, events, functions and workshops.
The Manor House will be enhanced by a café to attract visitors to the museum and will provide a social meeting place for the community. We believe that with the help of local benefactors, a fund-raising campaign and a well-developed community and business plan, the project can become self-sustaining for the benefit of the wider community and look forward to a promising future.
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