Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Sad news from Liverpool

MV Wincham, a modest, 1948-built coastal trading vessel, is to be scrapped, despite receiving £47,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for restoration eight years ago.

Needless to say, this underlines concerns about the Lottery Fund's long-term usefulness - what is the point of funding a restoration if the work is to be undone (and worse) less than a decade later?

The HLF's largesse is often reported uncritically, but the effects of so much money sloshing about (at least until the pointless 2012 sports day came along) have been decidely mixed. I've always taken the view (based on much experience of spending these funds) that too much money is at least as great a threat to our heritage as not enough money.

It also begs the question, so far unasked, of why the only alternative to continuing with the restoration of the Wincham is to destroy it. As boats of less robust construction have lain unattended and deteriorating for decades before being rescued, a middle ground of mothballing has surely not been ignored? If this were a building that had failed to attract short-term support, we would not be calling in the wrecker's ball.

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