Lancashire Telegraph‘Secret’ Hyndburn museum must stay open (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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‘Secret’ Hyndburn museum must stay open

Lancashire Telegraph: Hall owners told they cannot close home to public Hall owners told they cannot close home to public

‘THE best kept secret in Clayton-le-Moors’ will remain open to the public.

The owners of Clayton Hall, off Clayton Hall Drive, had sought permission from the council to prevent the public from accessing a museum there, as well as an historic Grade II listed ice house, car park, and picnic area.

But the planning committee rejected officers’ recommendations and said the museum must remain open.

When planning permission was granted to rebuild the hall in the 1990s, on the site of two buildings dating to the 1300s, the council stipulated those areas must be open to the public from 2pm to 6pm or sunset at weekends and from noon until 3pm at least two weekdays a week.

The museum contains artefacts relating to the hall’s history.

Documents with the council said: “There were only a few visitors to the museum when it opened and, since then, there have never been any visitors or enquiries.

“Realistically, the museum has not operated as such for more than 20 years.

“Since the development was completed and the museum created, there have been only two visitors.”

Councillor Judith Addison said: “I never knew there was a museum and if I had, I would have gone to visit it.

“If museums are not advertised, how will people know to visit?”

Chief planning officer Simon Prideaux said planning conditions were highly unusual and wouldn’t be implemented today.

Mr Prideaux said: “The owners would like to use it as part of their dwelling. It’s not a facility accessible to the public, it’s in private grounds. We feel it’s reasonable for the museum element (of the planning conditions) to be discharged.”

Councillor Bernard Dawson, said: “I can understand why they want to do it. I have never heard of a museum down there.

“It’s the best kept secret in Clayton.”

Nobody at Clayton Hall could be reached for comment.

Comments (3)

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4:17pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Casper's mum says...

Never looks open whenever I take the dog for a walk through the park.
Never looks open whenever I take the dog for a walk through the park. Casper's mum
  • Score: 4

7:44pm Thu 26 Jun 14

jogalot says...

What are the opening hours? I'd love to visit it.
What are the opening hours? I'd love to visit it. jogalot
  • Score: 3

11:05pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Legal Beagle says...

This has a very interesting planning history, which can be accessed by visiting the Hyndburn Council planning website and entering the application number 11/90/0155.

Mr Prideaux is quoted as having said: “The owners would like to use it as part of their dwelling. It’s not a facility accessible to the public, it’s in private grounds."

For a Chief Planning Officer, Mr Prideaux seems woefully ignorant, and it might have been sensible if he had done some basic research before making such a statement.

The original planning application was to build a new `replica' of an old house that had been demolished. The council were minded to refuse it, but granted permission because of the wonderful facility that was promised by the owner, well-known local accountant, David Mayes.

This included not only the museum, but access to an historic ice house and a nice car park and picnic area for visitors.

All this was incorporated into a legally binding section 106 agreement between Mr Mayes and the Council.

It was a condition of giving planning permission to build the new house that it wouldn't be occupied until the museum was open to the public, but although Mr Mayes moved into the house in 1993 for some strange reason the museum still hadn't been opened over two years later, and the Council were forced to threaten High Court injunction proceedings, whereupon the museum was suddenly declared open.

So it was an essential part of the original planning deal done between Mr Mayes and the Council that the public would have access to the site. For Mr Prideaux now to say "It’s not a facility accessible to the public, it’s in private grounds" is therefore complete nonsense. I find it difficult to understand why he would make such a comment and why he would recommend that the application be granted.

Intrigued by this museum that I had never heard of I visited the site this evening, and I can confirm that it is a truly delightful spot, and well worth a visit. Unfortunately, it was getting a bit late, but the museum is open from 2pm to sunset (or 6pm if earlier) on Saturdays and Sundays, so I'll be going back with a picnic and I recommend other people interested in historical Lancashire do the same.

It's a great shame that such a hidden treasure has gone un-noticed for so long, but many thanks to the LT for bringing it `out of the closet', and let's all hope the museum can now finally fulfil its potential.
This has a very interesting planning history, which can be accessed by visiting the Hyndburn Council planning website and entering the application number 11/90/0155. Mr Prideaux is quoted as having said: “The owners would like to use it as part of their dwelling. It’s not a facility accessible to the public, it’s in private grounds." For a Chief Planning Officer, Mr Prideaux seems woefully ignorant, and it might have been sensible if he had done some basic research before making such a statement. The original planning application was to build a new `replica' of an old house that had been demolished. The council were minded to refuse it, but granted permission because of the wonderful facility that was promised by the owner, well-known local accountant, David Mayes. This included not only the museum, but access to an historic ice house and a nice car park and picnic area for visitors. All this was incorporated into a legally binding section 106 agreement between Mr Mayes and the Council. It was a condition of giving planning permission to build the new house that it wouldn't be occupied until the museum was open to the public, but although Mr Mayes moved into the house in 1993 for some strange reason the museum still hadn't been opened over two years later, and the Council were forced to threaten High Court injunction proceedings, whereupon the museum was suddenly declared open. So it was an essential part of the original planning deal done between Mr Mayes and the Council that the public would have access to the site. For Mr Prideaux now to say "It’s not a facility accessible to the public, it’s in private grounds" is therefore complete nonsense. I find it difficult to understand why he would make such a comment and why he would recommend that the application be granted. Intrigued by this museum that I had never heard of I visited the site this evening, and I can confirm that it is a truly delightful spot, and well worth a visit. Unfortunately, it was getting a bit late, but the museum is open from 2pm to sunset (or 6pm if earlier) on Saturdays and Sundays, so I'll be going back with a picnic and I recommend other people interested in historical Lancashire do the same. It's a great shame that such a hidden treasure has gone un-noticed for so long, but many thanks to the LT for bringing it `out of the closet', and let's all hope the museum can now finally fulfil its potential. Legal Beagle
  • Score: 7
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