Lincolnshire

Lincoln Castle may be outsourced to private sector

Lincoln Castle refurbished wall walk Image copyright Lincolnshire County Council
Image caption Lincoln Castle is a top tourist attraction and the home of one of four copies of the Magna Carta

Top heritage sites like Lincoln Castle could be outsourced to the private sector, Lincolnshire council has said.

Twelve historic sites have been listed as possible candidates to be sold off under council plans to save millions of pounds a year.

Council leader Martin Hill said he had "an open mind" and a final decision has not been made.

Labour councillor Rob Parker described the idea as "controversial" and "unnecessary".

'Huge success'

The Conservative-led authority has already voted to hand over most of its libraries in a bid to save about £2m. A campaign group has opposed the move and launched two court challenges to stop it.

Council spokesman Tony McGinty, said: "We are looking for someone to run the libraries but we wanted to take the opportunity in the future to talk to the successful provider about other services that the council runs."

But Mr Parker said the castle was not a service that should be outsourced as its "a huge success".

"And, £22m of public funds, including money from National Lottery, has been spent on upgrading it - and now we decide to hand over the running of it to the private sector," he said.

"I worry whether sites that are historic - rather than a money-making machine - will be viable."

However, Mr Hill said: "We will have to make some difficult choices in the future because we have a huge amount of savings to find.

"We have to keep our options open.

"If somebody is successful in winning the library contract they will have the opportunity - if they wish and the council wishes - to look at these various sites and see if they can do something differently or even better."

Outsourcing targets

Image caption Gainsborough Old Hall, which had a £255,000 revamp in 2012, is on the outsourcing list
  • Lincoln Castle
  • Gainsborough Old Hall
  • Museum of Lincolnshire Life
  • The Collection (Museum in Lincoln)
  • The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre
  • The Tennyson Research Centre
  • Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire
  • Windmills at Alford, Burgh-le-Marsh, Heckington and Lincoln
  • Lincolnshire Archives

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