Not sold on the idea of tapestry return

Leighton Buzzard tapestry
Leighton Buzzard tapestry

Leighton Buzzard Townswomen’s Guild has attacked Central Beds Council over its “commercial” decision not to put a tapestry back on display in the library.

The artwork represents different parts of the town and was made by members of the Guild nearly 40 years ago.

It was presented to the library in 1981, where it hung on the stair wall until 2013 when the building was redecorated and the tapestry was damaged. Leighton Linslade council paid to have the damage repaired and it has now been reframed and offered to the library to rehang on the wall – an offer Central Beds Council rejected.

Ann Cheesman, Guild chairman, said: “We were told the library would not take it back as the space is required for commercial use.

“They want to advertise on the wall. Does this mean that even a library wall has become a money-making public amenity. The wall still remains blank and has been for two years.

“The tapestry is a representation of our town, from the canal and market, to the railway and church. The library is supposed to be a place for the community, the tapestry should be hung there for everyone to see.”

Jill Dickinson, the council’s head of libraries, said: “Leighton Buzzard Library is unique in Central Bedfordshire as it also incorporates a theatre, which is highly valued within the community.

“However, it is not a statutory service and therefore has to be run as efficiently and cost effectively as possible to ensure it has a secure and sustainable future.

“As part of an ongoing £850,000 refurbishment programme to help modernise the library service, the wall where the tapestry had hung will be used to promote the theatre.

“We have been transparent in our dialogue with the Townswomen’s Guild that this promotion is crucial to the theatre’s future success as a hub for culture and entertainment.”