COUNTY council bosses are ready to continue managing Clitheroe Castle Museum - if borough counterparts can find an extra £88,000 per year.

Under an existing £162,520 annual deal, Lancashire County Council oversees the venue, providing curators and conservationists to look after the castle's collection and provide technical support where necessary.

Talks have been taking place over future management arrangements when this deal expires on March 31, according to Ribble Valley Council minutes.

And county officials say they are willing to continue with the present system, subject to a 'full cost recovery model', which would require an additional £88,000 each year.

In a report by Ribble Valley Council's community services director Adam Allen, it was noted: "The operational costs of the facilities such as repairs and maintenance, business rates and utilities would all continue to be met by the council. Income from the museum would continue to be shared with LCC."

Cllr Michael Graveston told colleagues visitor figures had shown an improvement post-Covid and he highlighted the large number of schools which visited the museum.

He also raised concerns that reduced opening hours may deter spontaneous family visits, and "relayed a number of positive reviews from visitors to reinforce the museum’s importance", according to the minutes.

Councillors agreed to a six-month extension of the current management arrangements, to allow the authority's officers to closely examine future long-term options for the castle museum. The museum will remain open for 35 hours a week - 20 hours a week in winter - until Sepember 30.

The £88,000 funding shortfall requirement will be forwarded to the borough's policy and finance committee.

Further discussions are expected over the Atrium cafe, which was not part of the county council agreement and had been closed since the pandemic. The bowling green cafe was also subject to separate lettings contracts.