In a gathering of the full council on Wednesday, February 21, members granted approval to move forward with proposals aimed at addressing the unparalleled financial challenges confronting the authority.

Among these measures is the consideration to terminate the council’s lease at Thwaite Watermill, a matter that has undergone public consultation.

While the definitive decision to surrender the lease is pending, Thwaite Watermill is slated to provisionally cease its operations as a Leeds Museums and Galleries attraction from April 1.

Thwaite Watermill is accessible to the general public exclusively on weekends and school holidays and during term time solely for pre-booked groups and school visits. Consequently, the proposed closure date is not anticipated to exert a significant impact on visitors.

The council pledges to honor all pre-existing bookings until October 2024 and commits to collaborating closely with the Canal & River Trust, the site owners, and other stakeholders in navigating any transition arrangements. The proposed closure and lease surrender will be officially published as a key decision, subject to scrutiny and potential intervention by elected members.

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “The council does not take any decisions affecting our visitor attractions lightly. However, the financial pressures we are now facing have forced us to look at options which would never have previously been considered.

“Ending the lease on Thwaite allows us to balance the urgent and unavoidable need to make cost savings with continuing to provide a diverse, high quality, accessible experience for our visitors at Leeds Museums and Galleries’ other eight sites, all of which are owned by Leeds City Council.”