Shropshire Star

Friends of Acton Scott farm museum say they hope a way can be found to reopen it

The Friends of Acton Scott group, set up to campaign to re-open the working farm museum near Church Stretton says Shropshire Council's decision to surrender the lease has come as no surprise.

Tedding hay at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, near Church Stretton, Shropshire. Submitted picture from book by Mike Hayward..

Popular with generations of families, the tourist and education attraction is being returned to the management of the Acton Family after almost half a century of being operated by the council.

Shropshire council said the site was losing £168,000 a year – costing the authority £8.40 per visitor to stay open.

It has been closed since 2021.

Alice Walker one of the members of the Friends group said the decision was not a win, but said all was not lost.

"Although this is not what I hoped for at the beginning of the campaign I think it can be said that we gave it a jolly good go," she said.

" We've explored a lot of avenues and garnered a lot of support for Acton Scott that may prove useful to the family as they seek to undertake its running."

She said that while the news of the council surrendering the lease had been a disappointment, the group had come to see in recent times that it was inevitable.

"We started a campaign to see Acton Scott re-opened as quickly as we could, but 18 months later it has not been possible.

"However maybe this is an opportunity that we didn't think we wanted.

"The Acton family have said they are are hoping to get it back up and running - at least things can now move."

Alice said the Friends group had been talking to many different people about how Acton Scott could be run in a different way to keep it open.

"People love going to Acton Scott for all kinds of reasons - I love it for the cultural heritage.

"So many people particularly from urban areas don't know what a modern farm is like - if they been be attracted to Acton Scott and see the animals it could help them to learn about farming."

She said she would like to see a home grown trust emerge.

"But that is now in the hands of the owners," she said.

"There are a lot of ideas out there and a lot of support from the public."

Speaking after the council's decision, Francis Acton, speaking on behalf of the Acton Scott Estate said: “We are pleased that an agreement has been reached in principle, and we will now focus on essential maintenance work to the buildings and farmland. At the same time we will explore options for the future in accordance with the vision of my late father and taking into account the findings of the public consultation. This will not be easy, as we seek to ensure that the site can be financially sustainable over the medium term.

“It is likely that an application will be made to the Charity Commission to establish a not-for-profit organisation to run the attraction, and the support of the many people who have valued their experience at Acton Scott will be essential for its long-term success."

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