Councillors vote not to reduce grant to Diss Museum

Heritage Triangle in Diss - Diss Museum on the Market Place ANL-140827-150733001

Heritage Triangle in Diss - Diss Museum on the Market Place ANL-140827-150733001

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Diss Town Museum will not face a cut to their funding after councillors agreed to reinstate a £4,000 grant for the coming year.

Councillors met last Wednesday to vote on reducing their grant to Diss Museum, which is free to enter, from £4,000 to £3,000.

But during public participation, representatives of the museum pleaded the case not to reduce the cash award.

Suzanne Kayne, acting chair of the museum, told the meeting: “The museum is an integral part of the town.”

Peter Sorrell, trustee, said a number of options had been considered to boost funds, including charging for entry.

But he said research had shown museums previously free to enter that implemented a charge for entry saw an “enormous” decline in visitors.

“Our view is that although it seems attractive (to charge) there are a whole range of difficulties with that, and that is not an option we would want to encourage,” he explained. “We are looking at other ways of increasing our funding but that is not going to provide us with the certainty that a grant from the town council would provide.”

A spokesperson for the museum added: “Such a massive reduction of £1,000 would put the museum’s finances under considerable strain and threaten the Museum’s important role in the Heritage Triangle.”

Councillors voted to postpone the decision.

But last night the Policy and Finance committee agreed to award the museum £4,000.

Up until 2009/10, the council awarded £5,000 to the museum. This was reduced to £4,000 in 2010/11, while for 2012/13 and 2013/14, £6,000 was granted to help cover maintenance and refurbishment.

It was brought back down to £4,000 in 2014/15.