"Negative Government response" frustrates fundraisers at wartime codecracker centre

By Culture24 | 26 May 2009
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a picture of a building next to a lake

A planned three-year programme of repairs at Bletchley Park (above) has left the day-to-day running of the site in the balance. Picture courtesy Bletchley Park Trust

Leading figures at Bletchley Park have lambasted a "negative Government response" after a funding appeal for the Grade II-listed World War II codecracking site met a frosty reception in the House of Lords.

In an address to the House last week, Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall launched a petition inviting the Government to support the "restoration and development" of the Park and associate it with London's Imperial War Museum. The Labour peer, whose parents met in the grounds, revealed Bletchley was suffering "considerable difficulty in surviving" while vital repairs take place to the building and museum facilities.

After Deputy Chief Whip Lord Davies rejected her initial plea, citing a £330,000 grant already provided by English Heritage, McIntosh saw a further effort dodged by her Oldham counterpart, who claimed there was "substantial support for the architectural and historical infrastructure" of Bletchley.

Earlier this year English Heritage joined forces with the local council in challenging the Park to earn £100,000 per year in funding by matching the figure itself. Bletchley Park Trust boss Simon Greenish said he was "very grateful" to the authorities for their "significant investment" in the planned three-year restoration programme, but warned that fresh funding was needed to "develop the site into the world-class education and heritage centre it deserves to be."

"It is the day-to-day operational costs associated with running this ageing and dilapidated site that the Trust battles to meet," he explained, revealing an imminent "major bid" for Heritage Lottery Funding.

"The fundraising effort is indeed going pretty well and it is to improve both the buildings and museum facilities," added McIntosh. "Visitor numbers are rising very rapidly and its business plan shows it will be self-sufficient once capital building work is completed."

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