Axe looms for New Mills Heritage Centre after 26 years

New Mills Heritage and Information Centre.
New Mills Heritage and Information Centre.

The future of New Mills Heritage and Information Centre has been thrown into doubt after it emerged that the landlords had reached the ‘end of the relationship’ with the tenants - the town council.

Site owners Maryland Securities Limited says it has not heard from New Mills Town Council since the lease came up for renewal nearly a year ago.

The town council is in charge of the day-to-day running of the facility.

But speaking to the Advertiser this week, Maryland associate director Robert Timson said: “We think it is the end of our relationship with the council.

“We put the terms of the new lease to them several months ago but they have yet to respond and say whether they are suitable.

“Discussions and negotiations have been protracted from their side, we have given them every opportunity to say if they want to stay but heard nothing back.

“We are already making plans on how we can develop the site as we believe the council wish to give notice and look for new premises.

“There is no ill-feeling or upset on our part and to some extent the ball is in the council’s court and we await their response.”

The centre - which is run by the town council and is housed in several rooms on the ground floor of a converted building - was opened in July 1989 and attracts 12,000 people every year.

But despite the uncertainty surrounding it, town council chairman Barry Bates insisted this week that the authority was ‘committed to the Heritage Centre’.

“However, I can’t tell you the council’s plans for the centre’s future because whether we chose to keep the lease on or not has not been fully discussed with councillors and it will have to be put to the vote to see where we go from here,” he said.

The running costs of the centre, which generates income by selling books, maps and trails, are met by the town council.

An administrator employed by the town council is responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre and is assisted by a large group of experienced volunteers.

The current curatorial adviser is a former member of staff of The Manchester Museum.