New policy for £1m of assets

COUNCILLORS have voted to endorse an updated policy on how to handle the borough’s collection of ‘cultural assets’ – last valued at more than £1 million.

The decision was made at a meeting of Boston Borough Council’s Environment and Performance Committee on Wednesday and will go forward to Cabinet on September 12.

The policy will update procedures on dealing with artefacts which relate Boston’s social history.

Principal museum, arts and heritage officer Luke Skerritt said the Arts Council had issued the guidance on some ‘fundamental’ things to consider.

However, he admitted: “We frankly don’t acquire much at present and we don’t dispose of anything.”

Concerns were raised at the mention of disposal procedures, however, councillors were reassured by Mr Skerritt that a lot of consideration went into decisions on the fate of certain artefacts.

He said items which were destroyed were usually ones which had naturally deteriorated to a point where they were unrescuable.

He added: “Disposals is an extensive three-page robust mechanism that makes the most transparent and structured process possible for the disposal.

“So, we can’t dispose of anything without presentation to the council.”

Asked about the value of artefacts held, Mr Skerritt revealed he thought the council had about £2 million worth of items in its ‘collection’, which is displayed at the Guildhall and stored at the Haven Gallery.

A council spokesman later told The Standard the latest insurance value placed on the collection by Bonhams is £1,395,000.

A net worth of heritage assets on the council’s website, including property such as the Guildhall, comes to more than £4 million.

This includes/does not include archeological items, such as those found during the Big Dig, which go to The Collection in Lincoln.

Mr Skellet said this is because English Heritage has a single specially-built depository in every area where those items are sent.