£200k council grant for YSP?

New Jaume Plensa exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
New Jaume Plensa exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

WAKEFIELD Council are set to give Yorkshire Sculpture Park a £200,000 grant - just two months after the world-renowned park was left absent from its new arts funding scheme.

In February the council announced it was scrapping its previous arts funding scheme, Key Arts Clients, and replacing it with a new Creative Partners Grant scheme, which saw some organisations, including Theatre Royal Wakefield, take a substantial funding cut.

YSP was absent from the announcement, and a spokesperson said it was in discussions with the council about future funding arrangements.

On Tuesday, the council’s cabinet will discuss a proposal to agree a one-year funding agreement, capped at £200,000, which will include the costs associated with paying the director of YSP, Peter Murray, who is a council employee.

The funds would come from the Creative Partners budget, but the council has agreed to establish separate funding agreements with YSP “given their significant profile within the cultural landscape.”

The report lists a number of reasons for approval, including that it would establish a “strong strategic partnership” between the council and YSP, help protect and promote the historic landscape and environment, help establish Wakefield as the home for outstanding sculpture in conjunction with The Hepworth Wakefield and increase visitor numbers to the city.

YSP is currently working with the council and a private developer to develop a five-star hotel and spa development at Bretton Hall.

The recommended amount would still result in a reduction of funding from the council - YSP received £230,000 in 2010/11.

Cabinet members also have the options to give an amount less than £200,000, which would have “serious reputational risks for the council” or not to proceed with a funding agreement.