Civic Society News

In a regular feature, the Lytham St Annes Civic Society will be sharing news from around the area. This time, the spotlight is on the Lytham Institute

After more than 18 months of careful deliberation to consider representations from community groups and individuals, the Charity Commission has issued its decision on the draft objects for the Lytham Institute charity submitted by Fylde Borough Council.

Lytham Institute belongs to the community – it was built by the people for the people. After its opening in the old Bath St Chapel, funds were soon raised in 1878 to build a new Institute in Clifton Street. In 1898, to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the Duke of Norfolk opened an extension which housed Lytham Library for many years.

The Civic Society restored the commemorative stonework for this. In 1916 the trustees donated the building to the Lytham UDC, forerunners of today’s Fylde Borough Council, on the understanding that they would continue to run it for the people.

Lancashire County Council closed the library in 2016 and the building has remained in only partial use since then. The Hewitt Lecture Rooms are available for hire and the Lytham Heritage Group’s invaluable reference archive is held there. The Society rents a storage room here too. In 2019, by funding a barrister’s Opinion after pro bono work by David Coupe, the Society succeeded in having the Institute declared a charitable trust, with Fylde Borough Council as sole trustee.

In 2022, the council submitted revised objectives of the trust to the Charity Commission, who have now published their findings. The Commission has modified the draft objects in two important respects. Firstly, recognising the conflict of interest between Fylde’s role as a Local Authority and its duty as a charity trustee, the council are advised to appoint independent trustees to manage the charity.

Secondly, as the community groups (Friends of the Institute, Lytham Town Trust, Lytham Heritage Group, LSA Civic Society) had requested, the Lytham Institute building cannot be sold and replaced without Charity Commission consent. As an added protection, such an application cannot be made by the council until a majority of independent trustees are appointed. This decision will help to protect the Lytham Institute as a community asset and open the way for a constructive dialogue with the council to find a financially sustainable use for this historic Grade II Listed building in the centre of the town.

Lytham St Annes Civic Society want to increase the interest in the group. There is much to achieve and member support is crucial. The open meetings at Fylde Rugby Club will give all the existing and new members a voice, so please go along. Further information can be found on the website.



Tedd Walmsley

Be the first to know

To get exclusive news, be the first to know about our special offers and competitions, sign up to Live Magazines for FREE.

Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn to join the conversation