MP fights for cash to save iconic museum

Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero is fighting tooth and nail to find external funding to save the DH Lawrence Centre from closure.
NEAA 07-08-12 BE 4 DH Lawrence Heritage Centre in EastwoodNEAA 07-08-12 BE 4 DH Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood
NEAA 07-08-12 BE 4 DH Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood

She is looking at possible grants from organisations such as The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council to save Broxtowe Borough Council closing it down next year.

The MP received a letter from the council leader, Richard Jackson, this week saying he agreed if funding could be found, the centre could be saved.

But Gloria said she needed the council to give her time to find the funding.

She has called for the decision to be delayed a year – but the council has so far refused.

So now, the MP has invited coun Jackson to a meeting to discuss her plans in more depth, hoping he will agree to give the iconic museum a one year stay of execution.

Gloria said: “I understand the difficult position the council is in but on one hand the leader of the council has told me he would welcome outside funding and then on the other hand he is refusing to budge on the date the centre is to close.

“If he doesn’t grant the centre a stay of execution then it’s almost certain we won’t have enough time to secure funding.”

Gloria wrote to coun Jackson on Wednesday of this week inviting him along to the meeting with herself and representatives from various grant organisations.

“If he was to meet with us, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council, the DH Lawrence Society and other interested groups then I think he would be persuaded of the arguments for extending the deadline,” she said.

The MP attended the full Broxtowe Borough Council meeting last week where she initially called for the deadline to be extended.

She was backed by some of the councillors, but not all.

Gloria said: “I cannot stress just how important this is.

“A huge part of our area’s cultural heritage is at stake here.

“As I’ve already made clear to the council, I think these plans are incredibly short sighted and it would be a huge blow to the town if one of our biggest assets was to close its doors when Lawrence is undergoing something of a renaissance.

“We should do what we can to not only protect our heritage but boost tourism in the area and capitalise on this growing interest – not sever a link to the man who helped put Eastwood on the map.”

The Conservative controlled council Cabinet originally voted to close the centre at a meeting on September 22.

A petition with hundreds of signatures on was presented by local councillors during the meeting.

The council needs to find £3m worth of savings.

Earlier this year, the centre was shortlisted for a prestigious Heart of the Community honour at the East Midlands Heritage Awards.