Who will run Clarke Hall?

Clarke Hall Summer history day'Clarke Hall with visitors
Clarke Hall Summer history day'Clarke Hall with visitors

THE future of Clarke Hall could be secured for the next 25 years.

Today, Wakefield Council has launched a search to find an organisation to take over the running of the treasured living history museum.

The charity, business or group which can prove it has the skills, knowledge and experience to run Clarke Hall for the long-term will be awarded a 25-year lease.

But the council will continue to own the 17th century property, on Aberford Road, its grounds and all of its historic collections.

The winning bidder will be given up to £120,000 every year for three years to support the day to day running.

Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for culture, said: “Clarke Hall is a much loved asset to the district and we are doing all we can in difficult financial circumstances for the council to keep the hall open and available to the public.

“The tendering process now under way is about identifying a suitable organisation to take over the management of Clarke Hall, the adjoining visitor centre and grounds, and to run the facility as a new heritage attraction to increase public access and benefits for local people and visitors to the district.”

The move comes after a budget report to cabinet on February 14.

Fears for the future of Clarke Hall began in March 2011 when the Wakefield Schools Forum announced it was cutting the museum’s main source of funding.

The Friends of Clarke Hall, backed by the Express, launched a campaign to keep it open.

World famous author Joanne Harris joined the fight to save it by leading a Twitter campaign.

The council said the Friends would continue to organise public open days and all pre-booked school visits would be honoured until the end of the summer.

The closing date for tender submissions is June 8 and the successful bidder will be announced later this year.

Organisations can register their interest and download the tender documentation via the Council’s Supplier and Contract Management System (SCMS) at https://scms.alito.co.uk