LUDLOW Assembly Rooms and the Chamber of Trade have hit out at a decision by the Town Council to recover money from the arts venue.

Ludlow Assembly Rooms has hit out at a decision taken by Ludlow Town Council to claw back £5,000 of funding which it provided to support the Town’s Visitor Information Service before Covid struck, despite the financial pressures of the pandemic and the protracted closure of the Assembly Rooms main building for modernisation.

The funding which was provided in 2019/20 supported Ludlow Assembly Rooms to provide a Visitor Information Service. Though delivered largely by volunteers, the Assembly Rooms provided management oversight and met the direct costs of running the service such as IT support, telephone, photocopying and training.

The funding application made clear that the money was needed for core funding. But Ludlow Town Council are now demanding an itemised list of expenditure backed by invoices as to how the money was used. This gives the Assembly Rooms no option but to return the money, using funds raised, for example, by the fundraising and events committee and donated by the people of Ludlow to fill the Council’s coffers.

“It is completely outrageous that at a time when other public bodies, including Shropshire Council and the Government are doing their best to support charities and community organisations, Ludlow Town Council is moving the goal posts so it can claw money back,” said Gareth Williams.

The criticism was echoed by Ludlow Chamber of Trade chair Vikki Orttewell, who described the Town Council decision as ‘bizarre.’

“Now more than ever we need a visible, easily accessible visitor information service and we are really excited that the service is going to return to the centre of the town in the newly restored Assembly Rooms,” she said.