Abbey to share £1.3m cash pot

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THE Dispatch district’s top tourist attraction, Newstead Abbey, is in line for a welcome cash boost.

The abbey (pictured), Nottingham Castle and Wollaton Hall are to get £1.3 million from the Arts Council to revamp their museums.

Nottingham City Council, which owns all three venues, is one of only three local authorities to have been awarded the grant aid, which will be spread over three years.

The council’s portfolio holder for leisure, culture and tourism, Coun David Trimble (Lab), said: “The award is significant recognition of the quality of the museums and the council’s ability to grow and develop to become a museums service of national standing.”

But the chairman of Newstead Abbey Byron Society (NABS), Ken Purslow, said he was anxious that the abbey — the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron — would receive at least its fair share of the grant, compared with the other two venues.

He felt that in fact the abbey deserved the lion’s share because it was in the greatest need of renovation work.

Erin Huckle, of tourism organisation Experience Notts, said: “We really welcome any news of funding for tourism attractions in the county.

“These places are already three of the most popular, so anything that can be done to boost their profile is great.”

Nottingham resident Richard Holt said he thought the money was deserved because the museums needed investment.

But he hoped the investment would not mean visitors having to pay higher prices.

Part of the grant will support the council’s bid to transform the castle into a world-class museum and also help towards part-refurbishment of Wollaton Hall, opening three new areas to the public.