Gainsborough MP decries Lincoln Usher Gallery proposals

A senior politician has come out against plans to change the use of the Usher Gallery, saying it would be a great loss for the whole of Lincolnshire.

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, rejected plans by the Conservative-led Lincolnshire County Council to turn the majority of the building into an events venue.

He said in a statement: “Shutting the Usher Gallery would be a great loss for Lincolnshire.

“This building was specifically designed by one of the most prominent British architects of its era to house the collection amassed by James Ward Usher and very generously donated to the public.

“The Usher Gallery is an excellent exhibition venue and a place that has inspired generations of artists, residents, children, and others who have lived in or travelled through our county over the past century.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“The proposal to reduce it to a mere events venue and coroners’ office is most unwelcome. I have written to Lincolnshire County Council expressing my objections, and echoing the protests of my many constituents who appreciate the Usher Gallery and its importance for all of Lincolnshire.”

The City of Lincoln Council, which owns the Usher Gallery, has already said that the building “must not be touched.”

Lincolnshire County Council put forward the proposal on The Lincolnite and claimed that the iconic building “no longer meets the rigorous environmental and security standards.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The idea was to keep a small dedicated exhibition space but convert the majority of the Usher Gallery into a wedding venue.

It sparked petitions and protests, where many said they want to demonstrate “just how important the Usher Gallery is to the people of Lincolnshire.”

See our gallery from a major protest held in April when a public consultation on the proposal was coming to a close.