At a meeting of the Finance and Democracy Committee on Monday 22nd July, Councillors agreed to register the Lytham Institute as a charitable trust, and seek immediate advice and discussion with the Charity Commission on the governance and future management of the trust.

Lytham Institute is a building owned by Fylde Council and until 2016, use of the building was shared with Lancashire County Council, which operated a library and registration office in approximately 61% of the building, and Fylde Council, which operated meeting rooms and community facilities in the remainder.

Lancashire County Council has not used the building since September 2016, and its user rights expire in October this year.  The library service is due to re-open in the Assembly Rooms in Lytham soon and this leaves the community facility at the Institute under-used.  Two community organisations; the Heritage Trust; and the Lytham St Annes Civic Society, occupy a room each on the first floor for the storage of records and artefacts.

Following the decision of councillors at the meeting, open discussions with community groups and interested stakeholders will take place to determine the most effective use of the Institute to fulfil the required objectives of the Trust.

Councillor Karen Buckley, Chair of the Finance and Democracy Committee for Fylde Council said: “Following consideration of legal opinion regarding the interpretation of a document dated 1917, the committee agreed that the charity should be formed.  This will be followed by a meeting with the Charity Commission to discuss the governance and objectives of the charity in 2019 onwards.

“Since the closure of the library there has been much uncertainty about the future of this building and I am pleased that a decision has been made that will steer a way forward. I look forward to hearing ideas from the community groups involved with the Institute on its future use.”