THE mayor of Malton has hit back at a decision by the town council not to provide funding for the Milton Rooms.

Malton Town Council had been asked to provide £4,500, which would be match-funded by Ryedale District Council (RDC), following a failed funding bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

However, town councillors voted against the donation, which would go towards a venues manager, on the basis that a business plan should first be provided.

Cllr Paul Andrews said: “This amounts to an outright refusal to provide an offer of substantial match funding which was on the table.

“The decision places a series of hurdles which have to be overcome to the satisfaction of members of the town council. There is no guarantee that the money will still be on the table when these obstacles have been cleared, or that the town council will accept the vision, business plan and other work which will have been carried out.

“It was made clear to the meeting that Milton Rooms does have a business plan, but this needs revision in the light of the failure of the HLF bid and that one of the tasks of the venues manager would be do the revision.”

Malton’s deputy mayor Cllr Paul Emberley said: “The Milton Rooms remains an important asset for the performing arts, and speaking for myself and other town councillors, everyone wants to see it flourish.

“Regrettably, though, what Cllr Andrews omits to add is that the town council has already been extremely generous in its underlying support and has given the Milton Rooms £14,500 over the last three years.

“It hasn’t ruled out future funding, but members came to the conclusion that any such further funding should be contingent upon scrutiny of a completely new vision for the Milton Rooms and a fully costed business plan.”