‘No decision’ yet on city council’s Usher Gallery position

City of Lincoln Council has made “no decision” on its position on the future of the Usher Gallery.

Council leader, Ric Metcalfe, said the authority is still waiting for more detail on the plans proposed for the use of the art gallery.

The city council currently owns the building and provides the lease to the county council.

Lincolnshire County Council have launched a review into heritage services, including the Usher Gallery, in an effort to save money.

It includes plans to allocate some of the space in the building for registration, coroners and celebration services.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council.

The proposals have seen a backlash from local people who have opposed the changes and said it is a “step in the wrong direction”.

But Councillor Metcalfe said the city council needs to know more about the plans before it can respond to the county council’s consultation.

“I can understand people’s concerns absolutely,” he said.

“The stage the city council are at with this is that we have made no decision yet about what our attitude towards the county council’s proposals is.

“We are trying to find out in much more detail than what has been available to us about what they are proposing for the gallery in terms of space, because we understand they are going to retain some for exhibitions.

“We need to know about the detail of that, whether it’s a broom cupboard or if it’s a reasonable share of space.”

The Usher Gallery opened in 1927.

He added that the authority also needs to know whether the proposals are in line with James Ward Usher’s legacy to the city.

The county council will carry out a consultation on the proposed changes which would save £750,000 a year.

The plans would also see The Collection expanded to create exhibition space while also taking in artwork from other sites.

Senior county councillors on the authority’s executive said that heritage services need to become more “self-sufficient’ and “offer more”.

Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy and place at Lincolnshire County Council, said heritage services need to move with the times. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy and place at the county council, said heritage attractions across the county need to move with the times.

But the proposed shake up has seen a backlash from local people who set up a petition in an effort to save the Usher from the changes.

You can have your say on the plans by completing the county council’s consultation on the future of hertiage services in Lincolnshire here.

History of the Usher Galley

A businessman and philanthropist, James Ward Usher, left money to the city for the construction of the gallery after his death in 1921.

He also left his collection of clocks, watches and paintings which became the basis of the Usher Gallery’s collection.

It was officially opened in 1927 by the Prince of Wales after James Ward Usher’s death.

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