New owners idea for Turton Tower
COUNCIL chiefs are looking at transferring the management of Turton Tower to a new agency if the money to run it can’t be found.
It follows this week’s announcement that an annual £50,000 grant to the facility was to be axed as part of £30million of savings Blackburn with Darwen Council has to make over two years.
The council’s grant will continue this year, but will be taken away in 2014.
Council leader Coun Kate Hollern said there was little option but to cut the tower’s funding from the budget.
She said: “We will discuss the future of the building with the National Trust or a community group. It is difficult to justify spending £50,000 a year on Turton Tower when you look at all the terrible cuts we are having to make.
“We have the option of stopping that funding or losing other facilities like closing libraries.
“It isn’t easy but we have to look at these things.”
Fellow Labour councillor Damian Talbot, executive member for leisure and culture, said he was exploring ways to keep the facility.
He said: “We have brought the cost of subsidising Turton Tower down from £140,000 two years ago to £70,000 in 2011/2012 and to £49,000 this year.
“I am personally very committed to Turton Tower. We have done a lot to try to increase the revenue and I am keen to see if we can keep effective ownership of it by raising the difference in the next year.
“I would like to keep it for the people of the borough going forward but I recognise these are difficult times.”
North Turton and Tockholes councillor Colin Rigby said: “I think it is a fairly cynical move and a retrograde step by the Labour Party.
“It is the only Grade One listed building in the borough.”