Fylde MP calls for transparency over lost Lottery funding

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has called for the report into Lytham Hall’s lost Lottery funding to be released.

He has blasted Heritage Lottery Fund bosses for refusing to release the auditor’s findings after an investigation into monies spent at the hall.

Mr Menzies wrote to the Heritage Lottery Fund after it withdrew £1.7m from a restoration project at the Grade I-listed Georgian mansion.

But the organisation has refused to reveal what is in a report from auditors Moore Stephens – while it considers a Freedom of Information Act request on the report.

Mr Menzies said: “That is not good enough. I will be asking ministers why this report has not been made available.

“I am very disappointed to have received a letter from Heritage Lottery Fund chief executive Ros Kerslake stating she will not release the report as she is dealing with another request to have it published.

“What on earth is happening?

“People play the Lottery with huge faith about where their money is going.

“At the end of the day it is public money and the people behind the Lottery have a real responsibility to be transparent with public money.

“I can’t understand why the findings of this report are not being made public and I will raise this with ministers, and adjournment debates, until I get the right answers

“I’m sure ministers at DCMS will agree with me that it’s strange that this report is not being made public by the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

The £1.7m grant was part of an original £5.9m project to restore the crumbling building’s facade, maintain the interior and create income-generating activities at the popular tourist attraction.

The plans had to be scaled down, however, after a reduction in funding from other sources.

Fylde’s councillors called the Heritage Trust North West, appointed by Hall owners Lytham Town Trust to operate the site, to a meeting to explain the loss of the grant last month. Mr Menzies has also written to the Heritage Lottery Fund to ask them to meet with the Town Trust at the earliest opportunity, to discuss a way forward for the site.

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