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Uncertain future for Cartmel Institute
AN HISTORIC landmark faces an uncertain future as trustees say they cannot find £100,000 needed for essential structural repairs.
The Cartmel Institute was gifted to the people of the village nearly 150 years ago for educational and recreational purposes.
But the committee tasked with its upkeep says there is little prospect of halting its deterioration without a major cash injection.
It means a worrying time for two traders who have been told they may not be able to continue leasing parts of the building, which stands opposite the priory.
Trustees secretary Ewen Cameron said: “The worst case scenario would be offering the building up for sale, which might mean it could be bought by a private individual or business and converted into housing or business premises.
“The trustees would have to decide how the proceeds should be used in the future.
“An alternative could be to make the building available to the priory. The institute has always been connected with the priory and its transfer would remove the requirement to build an extension by the church. It would have to be decided whether the building should be sold, let or donated.”
Hairdresser Jackie Airey has worked in the Priory Salon in the institute for more than 15 years and Peter Mardon has run Fieldhead Crafts from the building since 2006.
Both said they would be unable to rent premises elsewhere – and wanted to know if any discussions had been held between trustees and English Heritage or the National Lottery to see if any grants might be available.
Ms Airey said: "I believe a lot could be done to help the building just by clearing the gutters. We don’t think there’s actually much wrong with it.
"Why not apply for a grant to fund it? We want the villagers to know it already belongs to Cartmel and a great deal of discussions have to take place before they make any decisions."
Mr Cameron said despite discussions with parish councillors, church wardens and the Cartmel Amenities Trust, there had been no new suggestions to address the problems.
He said major structural work was needed as well as improved access and facilities for the disabled, and a decision would have to be made by mid-2013.
He appealed for anyone with ideas or comments about how best to protect the building to contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org