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Newark Town Hall Museum and Art Gallery will be officially run by Newark Town Council after running illegally for 22 years

Newark Town Council has been given the powers to continue operating a museum after it emerged it was running illegally for more than 20 years.

The policy and finance committee meeting at the district council delegated powers to the town council to continue operating Newark Town Hall Museum and Gallery.

The council discovered the 22-year irregularity during investigations after its joint purchase of the Buttermarket with the district council.

Newark Town Museum and Gallery. (18199127)
Newark Town Museum and Gallery. (18199127)

It found it was in breach of the Local Government Act 1972, which defines local authorities for the purposes of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, and does not extend to town or parish councils.

This meant the council did not, for 22 years, have the ability to run an accredited museum and gallery in the Town Hall.

It was decided at the committee that the district council formally delegated the town council the ability to keep it open.

This, however, is conditional upon the museum continuing to maintain its accredited status, with any significant changes to be discussed and agreed first with the district council.

In the committee report, Matt Lamb, director of growth and communication at the district council, agreed the town council should continue to operate the museum.

"Members will be aware, however, that there is a renewed focus on Newark Town Centre, Newark Town ­— given the recent announcement of the Future Towns Fund ­— and its wider re-purposing," said Mr Lamb.

"The District and Town Council have a proud record of working collaboratively and I see no reason why this would not continue.

"I support the proposed delegation and that this be conditional upon retaining accreditation and agreement to any significant changes to the current demise and content."

Accreditation through the Arts Council sets nationally-agreed standards for museums of all sizes across the UK, and is a mark of professionalism.

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