Call for council to support under-threat Acton Scott Working Farm

A heritage visitor attraction at risk of potential closure should be backed by Shropshire Council, according to a councillor.

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm has been closed for more than six months
Acton Scott Historic Working Farm has been closed for more than six months

It comes as Shropshire Council, which has operated the site for more than 40 years, said it is no longer "financially sustainable".

The site has also been closed to the public since last June after two cases of E.coli were discovered.

The council says it is looking for "an alternative operating model" for the heritage attraction.

Broseley Councillor, Caroline Bagnall, the Labour group's spokeswoman for culture, leisure and tourism, has backed calls to save the attraction, and called on Shropshire Council to find the money to continue operating the site.

She said that it should be supported in the same way the council supports Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

She said: "At this time, when the Covid crisis has had such a huge and damaging impact on education, we must do everything we can to protect precious resources like Acton Scott to ensure that they can continue their valuable work to enhance the learning experience for all.

"Nearly three quarters of the population of Shropshire live outside of Shrewsbury. Surely they should be able to expect a similar level of council support for their leisure and educational facilities to those enjoyed by people living in the county town?”

Campaigners have also started a group called the Friends of Acton Scott Museum, who are leading calls for the attraction to remain open.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, said: "The museum welcomes approximately 20,000 visitors a year, but budget restrictions regrettably mean the much-loved attraction is no longer considered to be financially sustainable. Shropshire Council is working with the Acton Scott Estate to find an alternative operating model that provides a sustainable future.

"We are actively seeking ideas from supporters, stakeholders and the local community, which we hope will assist the Acton Scott Estate as it considers possible alternative uses for the site."

The museum was the vision of Thomas Acton, who established the site to demonstrate historic farming techniques.

Shropshire Council says it has been costing tax-payers around £168,000 a year since 2014, with visitor numbers declining.

The farm has previously featured in a number of television programmes and has been a popular venue for school trips and days out. It showcases traditional skills and highlights rare and native breeds.

A hard copy of the information pack, along with copies of the survey, is also be available at all Shropshire libraries.

Pepole can also request a hard copy or a large format survey form to be sent to them by post, by writing to Acton Scott Engagement, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, Acton Scott, Church Stretton, SY6 6QN, or by emailing actonscottengagement@shropshire.gov.uk

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