THE decision by Wiltshire Council to cut its £8,000 annual grant to Trowbridge Museum has been met with shock and outrage.

The authority chose to withdraw its grant, which goes to ‘caring for the museum’s collections’, but the Devizes and Salisbury museums only had their funding halved.

Vice-chair of the Trowbridge Town Council’s Museum and Tourism Committee, David Cavill, said he was appalled to learn of the decision, which was made because the museum received £1.1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of its £2.5m expansion plans.

“This is disgusting and very unfair,” said Cllr Cavill. “I understand that Wiltshire Council is under financial pressure, but to cut the Trowbridge grant, and not the others is disgraceful.

“The Salisbury and Devizes continue to enjoy their subsidies despite the fact that they charge an entry fee while Trowbridge is free.

“The plans to expand the museum is for its development, not its running costs.”

The museum’s running costs are £160,000. The decision was made at February’s budget meeting.

Museum curator, Clare Lyall, added: “We are disappointed with this decision and that we weren’t consulted about this. We have received this grant for decades. Now we will have to look for new funds. “

Cabinet Member for Housing, Corporate Services, Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Richard Clewer, said: “The museum is well supported by the town council and it received this grant so we decided, with our financial restraints, to regrettably make this move.

“The other museums still get funding for archaeology storage and they rely more heavily on our funding.”