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Herriot Centre building to be given to community

Buildings housing Thirsk’s world famous veterinary surgery, The World of James Herriot, look set to be handed over to the community. 

In what would have been author Alf Wight’s centenary year Hambleton District Council Cabinet Members have this week agreed to transfer 23 and 25 Kirkgate to the museum. 

The centre – a tribute to the vet and author Alf Wight / James Herriot – was opened by the authority in 1999.  It invested £1.4m in the project – which included contributions from private and public sources – with artefacts being donated from across the UK.

In 2012 faced with declining visitor numbers the council agreed to put the centre on a commercial footing by transferring it to The World of James Herriot Ltd – since then those numbers have been reversed and the centre won Visit England’s Small Visitor Attraction of the Year in 2015. 

“Transferring these buildings in the centenary year seems a good way of celebrating the success of the centre and of Alf Wight,” said council leader Mark Robson.

“It will give the centre better access to grants for further development. However we will safeguard the items owned or donated to the council and part of the transfer conditions will see the asset returned to the council should changes that are not beneficial to the community proposed.” 

Members agreed that officers should now work up the transfer – but asked for a final report to come back to them before the deal was signed.


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