Final hours to have your say on Usher Gallery’s future

A consultation on the future of the Usher Gallery and other Lincoln heritage attractions will end tomorrow.

Proposals would see the public gallery on Danesgate used as a wedding and events venue, small arts space and Coroners’ Court.

The Collection would be rebranded and given a new art exhibition space to house work from other sites as part of a £4 million city-wide investment.

Lincolnshire County Council, which leases the building from City of Lincoln Council, argued changes would save around £750,000 a year and encourage attractions to be self sufficient.

Councillor Nick Worth. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Nick Worth, who is responsible for heritage services in the county, said previously: “Currently, The Collection receives five times as many visitors as the Usher each year, and it’s our hope that this move will mean that more people have the chance to enjoy our fantastic art.

“It’s our belief that these proposals are very much in keeping with the spirit of Usher’s legacy.”

To the county council’s “surprise”, the city council made the case for the building’s current purpose and design to be retained. 

Council leader Ric Metcalfe. Photo: Connor Creaghan for The Lincolnite

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “We have sympathy with the county council’s position, money is incredibly tight in local government due to massive cuts from central government.

“We understand savings have to be made but the Usher is an important part of the city’s cultural offer and we feel it should remain as such.”

The public survey on the changes can be found here. Alternatively, people can email [email protected] or call 01522 782040.

The closing date for the consultation is 12 noon on Wednesday, April 24.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

More than 3,800 people have signed a petition to spare the gallery of any changes.

The move also sparked a protest march through the city streets by campaigners calling for the building to be “left alone”.

Other sections of the heritage review include:

  • The Collection – Potential for up to £5 million of investment in the site (subject to grant funding) to create a ‘flexible space’.
  • Ellis Mill – Potential transfer of this mill to a voluntary group or other delivery vehicle and look forward to receiving details in due course.
  • Museum of Lincolnshire Life – Will be retained as part of the Heritage Service asset base. The county council added there would be ongoing dialogue about how that site can be refreshed and updated.