UPDATE: Trust behind Hall Place and gardens meets for the last time before ceasing operation
PUBLISHED: 16:51 30 March 2017
The trust was forced to withdraw following cuts in council funding
The council has hailed its takeover of Hall Place and Gardens as a ‘fantastic opportunity’.
The comment comes after Bexley Heritage Trust, which has managed the historic site since the turn of the century, met for the last time this week.
The popular Bexleyheath attraction pulls in more than 225,000 visitors a year, but with Bexley council set to withdraw its financial support, Bexley Heritage Trust had to sever its ties with the Tudor-era house.
Last night (Monday) the trust’s board met for the final time.
Chairman Bill Roots said: “We have managed Hall Place and, until last year, Danson House, with significant reductions in the financial assistance provided by Bexley Council over recent years.
“However, some financial assistance would still have been needed by the Trust for the immediate future if we were to continue to run the house and gardens as well as exhibitions, family activities and events which attract over 225,000 visitors a year.”
As the council takes over the historic house and gardens, trustees from the charity have stressed the importance of finding a ‘long-term solution’ to funding the popular attraction.
Mr Roots added: “How the Council will achieve this given the financial remit set for the Trust, i.e. no financial support, has yet to be clarified. But we wish the Council every success in continuing to operate this very important historic house and gardens for the benefit of Bexley residents and visitors to the borough.
“We also wish to thank the staff of Bexley Heritage Trust for their commitment and achievements over the past 17 years. In particular, operating the site effectively and in a solvent fashion with a reduced resource in recent years while providing the community of Bexley and thousands of visitors from beyond the Borough a dynamic public programme of exhibitions, events and educational activities.”
Peter Craske, cabinet member for environment and leisure at Bexley council said: “Hall Place and Gardens is not only an historic destination for residents and tourists, but also provides an ideal venue for weddings and prestigious events.
“Managing the property provides us with a fantastic opportunity to build the business and we have lots of exciting ideas.
“We have already signed up to Open House in 2017, to demonstrate our commitment to promoting Hall Place and Bexley’s unique heritage as widely as possible. We are also entering the venue for the prestigious Green Flag awards scheme, which recognises well run parks and open spaces.
“Initially our focus will be on ensuring the smooth running of Hall Place and Gardens as a visitor attraction and a wedding/event venue, but we are very much looking forward to working to ensure it has an even brighter and more exciting future.
“We hope it will be as successful as Danson House has been, since it came back to the council.”