Councillors deferred a request to provide lifeline funding to a Moray museum yesterday – much to the frustration of the staff who run it.
Elgin Museum had applied for a grant of £44,500 to be spread across the next three years to ensure it can remain open in the future.
But councillors yesterday cast doubt on a financial plan submitted by volunteers at the facility – and them they had to prove the venue could be financially self-sufficient before they would grant any funding.
Elected members identified faults with the museum’s projected income figures and noted discrepancies in other areas of its funding application.
Last night Janet Tythall, vice-president of The Moray Society, which runs the museum, pledged to work with the authority to iron out any flaws in the funding bid.
She said: “We will work with council officers to give them the answers they seek, but it is frustrating that we will have to wait for a decision on funding.
“We remain confident that we are providing the sort of service that Moray needs, and I hope councillors take that into account.
“We are working on projects with Historic Scotland and we want to be able to assure them our future is safe.”
Councillor John Cowe, chairman of the economic development and infrastructure services committee, had concerns the museum’s financial plan was not clear enough.
He said: “The museum suggests it will be able to increase footfall by 4,000 people over the next three years.
“But over the last year that has only gone up by 75 people, so that needs to be answered.”
Speyside and Glenlivet councillor Fiona Murdoch added: “The museum should be making its way towards self-sustainability.
“Those fundraising for it need to look at more regular income streams than just occasional corporate events and weddings.
“The museum does bring advantages, but the business plan needs more work before we could even contemplate the request.”
Fochabers and Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross urged fellow committee members to vote in favour of the request when the time came.
He said: “A four-star visitor attraction, and accredited museum, may have to close if this request is not granted.
“I accept there are competing demands, but we have to look at what this museum brings to Moray – for local people and visitors.”