Ashfield heritage groups fear for their futures

Sutton Heritage Society fears that projects such as the Sutton Windmill will not be replicated without a council heritage officer
Sutton Heritage Society fears that projects such as the Sutton Windmill will not be replicated without a council heritage officer

Heritage groups around Ashfield have been left fearing for their future following the announcement that the district’s heritage and tourism development officer is being made redundant.

Marg Thorne, from Sutton Heritage Society, said that the loss of Denis Hill in this post will have a ‘drastic effect on every aspect of our heritage throughout the whole of the district’.

She said: “Denis is a facilitator for many projects. He is absolutely brilliant at getting funding from various sources for our heritage projects.

“We would be losing this expertise which he so readily imparts to all groups. We think it is a move which the council will regret, but have they really quantified the benefits that maintaining the heritage of Sutton for present and future generations brings to the town and its businesses?”

The chairman of Hucknall’s event of the year - The Byron Festival - said that the axing of this role could be the death knell for that event.

“This is devastating news,” said Ken Purslow.

“Denis is the lynchpin of the festival and sits on the committee.

“We fear this could spell the end, as without his vital help, advice and expertise I’m not sure it will run next year without him.

“Our funding was already cut significantly this year and thankfully the three county councillors stepped in with some cash to keep it going, but this move by the district council is a move too far.”

The festival is the biggest event on the Hucknall calendar and attracts thousands of visitors to the event which last year stretched over 10 days.

Ian Bunting, the chairman of Skegby Appreciation Society, said that without the support and involvement of Denis Hill, the popular heritage walk at Skegby ‘would still be a pipe dream’.

“Our society was formed with the sole intention of uncovering and reclaiming the troughs on Old Road, Skegby, however this quickly spread to many other places of local interest within the village, culminating in the completion of a Heritage Walk with plaques strategically placed at each of the sites, giving some detailed information,” he said.

“Denis helped with fundraising, organising and planning the manufacture and erection of the plaques and to this day, brings thousands of local enthusiasts to the trail and gives interesting talks on the subject.”

He added: “Please do not let the knowledge and the interest in our local history be lost because we will never get it back.”

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