1. morley heritage centre report

Report of:
The Director of City Development
Report to:
Outer South Community Committee, (Ardsley & Robin Hood, Morley
North, Morley South and Rothwell)
Report author: Martin Gresswell 0113 39 52094
Date: Monday 20th October 2014
For decision
Morley Heritage Centre
Purpose of report
1. To consider a response to the deputation from Morley Heritage Centre (MHC) presented to full
Council on 26th March 2014 and considered at Executive Board on 16th July 2014.
Main issues
2. The collections of MHC have been gathered by Mr Peter Aldred over the last 50 years and
consist of newspaper cuttings, photographs, documents and objects relating to the history of
Morley and the surrounding area. As the collection has grown, Mr Aldred has become
concerned over its long term future and use and a small group of volunteers, under the name
MHC has formed to assist Mr Aldred.
3. Since July 2013 MHC has been open to the public in three premises, consecutively, on a pop-up
basis. Premises have been identified and supported financially by East St Arts. The nature of
the property arrangements with East St Arts means that MHC is vulnerable to termination of its
lease at short notice (two weeks), if a commercial tenant is identified for the premises. This has
resulted in MHC relocating twice since January 2014. The group is now seeking a more secure
home, which provides good public access and ability to provide space for educational visits and
other community activities, for the collection.
4. At full council meeting on 26th March 2014 Members referred a deputation from MHC to
Executive Board for further consideration of the issues raised. The deputation, attached at
Appendix 1 requested the Council “to consider allowing the MHC a permanent location within
the town centre and within current council owned property”. The MHC aspirations are supported
by the local MP.
5. At present the Council does not have any appropriate vacant premises in Morley town centre.
The asset review of Council property in the Morley area, including use of the Town Hall, is
expected by the end of the financial year. As part of this, should suitable accommodation
become available, the group will be advised.
Outer South Community Committee is asked to:
a. Note the deputation to Council;
b. Note the request of Executive Board for the Outer South Community Committee to consider
whether there is local support to fund this initiative should Leeds City Council, or other
accommodation, be identified.
Corporate considerations
Consultation and engagement
7. Ward members for Morley North and South have been consulted and have indicated that if
suitable premises could be provided they would “look favourably on a partnership funding
approach where Leeds City Council, Community Committee and MHC itself agreed to a joint
funding arrangement to make sure the centre is sustainable in the long run”. Other comments
included that it should be noted that council owned premises should not be the only option
considered and also a preference from one member for use of the upper floor of the library for
this purpose.
8. The Town Clerk, Morley Town Council advises that MHC has not yet made any formal approach
to the Town Council for assistance.
Equality and diversity / cohesion and integration
9. As part of the Executive Board consideration an Equality, Diversity, Cohesion and Integration
Screening form was completed which concluded that the issue had the potential to create a
perception that one group is being treated more favourably than others. The issue may also
impact on the location of council services in the Morley area.
Council policies and city priorities
10. The request of the deputation is consistent with the best council plan and, in particular, the best
council objective of ensuring high quality public services through the most efficient use of our
buildings and through supporting community aspirations.
Resources and value for money
11. Whilst there is no immediate financial consequence on this report, should premises become
available and approved for use by MHC, there will be an on-going associated rental costs of any
Legal implications, access to information and call in
12. If the collections of MHC were to be housed in council premises the legal status and constitution
of MHC as an organization would need to be established. The council would provide advice and
assistance in this process.
13. If council premises is identified the council will need to understand the legal ownership status of
the collections held by MHC. Should MHC, for any reason cease to exist as an organisation, the
council may find itself liable for legal responsibilities with regard to the collection.
Risk management
14. MHC as an organisation currently has no legal status although they intend to apply for charitable
status subject to receiving funding from HLF, East St Arts and the Council. If the council
provides premises and MHC ceases to exist as a group, the council would be left with
responsibility for material, the legal ownership of which is currently unclear.
15. MHC currently has no revenue to support the acquisition or rental of premises. There is a risk
they would be unable to fund any additional costs associated with the use of council premises.
This risk would need to be addressed through the Outer South Community Committee and any
potential partnership arrangement.
16. The Council has no suitable vacant space which would meet the requirements of MHC for
publicly accessible displays. However, it is possible that the current asset review could identify
suitable premises either owned by the Council or others. If premises are identified for MHC, it
will need to be supported and funded from local sources hence the referral to Outer South
Community Committee which may seek to identify a suitable partnership arrangement.
17. Outer South Community Committee is asked to:
Note the deputation to Council;
Note the request of Executive Board for the Outer South Community Committee to
consider whether there is local support to fund this initiative should Leeds City Council, or
other accommodation, be identified.
Background information
Appendix 1
My Lord Mayor and Fellow Councillors, my name is Pete Trigwell,
I am the Chair of the Morley Heritage Centre, I would like to introduce you to Mr Bob Beach who is the secretary of the
heritage group and Mr Peter Aldred who is the president and founder of the Morley heritage centre. Many thanks for this
opportunity to speak to you today, and I would ask that Leeds City Council listen to the concerns that will be raised and
give further consideration to them.
We are at present a small group of volunteers , who as you will probably be able to deduce from our title all committed to
displaying and preserving a written, photographic and oral display of the heritage of Morley and the surrounding areas.
I would now like to tell you a little about how the heritage centre came about, the collection that we have at present on
display in a pop up shop on Queen Street in Morley, is the brainchild of Mr Peter Aldred. Peter is a well known local man
who has collected everything and anything to do with the history and heritage of Morley for the last 50 years.
Peter, I know if he was speaking to you today, would be the first to say that he is not getting any younger and his wish is
that his collection be preserved for the enjoyment of not only the people of Morley, but for the people of all the
surrounding areas.
Our vision as a group is that not only do we display this collection, but that we also expand it,
we aim to do this by:
1. being committed to further local heritage research in Morley and its surrounding areas,
2. By passing on the experiences of the group and its friends to the younger members of our community
3. By working alongside all local schools to foster an understanding of what local heritage means to them and their
4. by helping people within the community that may be isolated, find a place that they can visit to pass on their own life
experiences, to different age groups.
As we do not at the moment have any funding, we are for the present a nomadic group. By this I mean that we have no
permanent premises for us to display and carry forward the aims of the group, which have been outlined already. We are
currently supported by East Street Arts and it is they that find us the temporary accommodation that we are using at the
moment. However these premises are always subject to availability and as the local economy seems to be recovering we
expect in the near future we will have nowhere to house this wonderful collection. We are in the process of seeking
funding from the Lottery Heritage Fund, and are awaiting a reply .
As a group of committed enthusiasts we feel that the centre can play an important part in the continuing development of
Morley. It has become very apparent in the short time that we have been open to the public that it is a well supported
project. The footfall we are now seeing has steadily increased into hundreds of visitors per week, with over 347 positive
and 0 negative comments having been placed in our visitors book, which has only been in operation since mid- January.
It would seem that the people of Morley are very much of the opinion that they want somewhere where they can go and
see and talk about their history and heritage, this is only made possible by having such a display within the town centre of
Morley, having it in such a position makes the whole project more accessible to local groups, businesses and schools, it
also becomes a place where local people can relate and record their experiences of local events and heritage.
Although we are very passionate about this project we realise that we are only a small band of enthusiasts. Once we have
established funding from the Lottery Heritage Fund and with the support of East Street Arts and hopefully Leeds city
Council we will acquire the help and mentoring to turn this into a show case venture. We will at that time apply for charity
In conclusion, If we are going to progress with this project, then a permanent location is paramount for success, if we have
permanence then this centre can continue to develop into a focal point that can be woven into the very fabric of Morley
itself, at this moment in time we do not have the revenue to secure premises especially in the town centre, where our
experience has shown that such a centre will thrive. We would therefore ask the council to consider allowing the Morley
heritage Centre a permanent location within the town centre and within current council owned property.
Thank You