AN UNUSUAL decision has seen the future of one of the city's most popular museums secured for 999 years.

An extension of the existing lease has been proposed for the Tudor House Museum on Friar Street, a 16th century building which has been established as a popular tourist destination.

The extension is to fulfil both the Worcester Heritage and Amenity Trust's desire to secure the long-term future of the museum and the council’s aims of retaining it as an asset for the local communities in Worcester and for visitors to enjoy.

Paul Griffith MBE, chairman of Worcester Municipal Charities, which will hold the new lease, said: “I would like to express absolute delight on our behalf and also on behalf of the Worcester Heritage and Amenity Trust who run the museum with two part-time staff and an amazing army of volunteers.

“The generosity of the city council in granting a new lease lasting 999 years will give both charities the confidence to go on investing time and money in the museum and improving the facilities there for visitors and the host of schoolchildren who want to learn about Tudor Worcester.

"We already have plans to build a new visitors and education centre behind the museum and need to start raising the funds to pay for it.”

The report to the policy and resources committee, to be considered on Tuesday, December 19, says that since the initial lease was agreed, the Trust has invested £93,500 in the property and the property has been kept in good repair.

Cllr Lynn Denham and Cllr Marjory Bisset, joint leaders of Worcester City Council, said: “We are delighted to be taking the unusual step of extending the lease on the Tudor House Museum for 999 years as a demonstration of our long-term commitment to the museum – it is a well-run and popular venue and this arrangement will mean it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Back in 2008, Worcester City Council approved a 125-year lease of the Grade II listed property to Worcester Municipal Charities CIO.

The lease enabled Worcester Heritage and Amenity Trust to operate the property as a museum and heritage centre, to ensure it was retained as a facility for public use.

The report also explains that the decision to extend the lease was made by officers under delegated powers, in consultation with the joint leaders of the council.