Town council votes to take on £1,800 grand piano funded by private backer

bungay town council

A German hand grenade was discovered at Bungay Museum on June 29. - Credit: Bungay Town Council

A town council has agreed to buy an £1,800 grand piano - but not before a councillor was taken to task for not telling colleagues it would be privately funded.

A grand piano is set to be installed in Bungay's St Mary's Church after town councillors decided to take ownership of the instrument.

The recommendation for ownership was put forward by councillor Bob Prior.

He came under scrutiny during Bungay Town Council's full council meeting on Thursday, May 27, for not revealing the financial details about how the grand piano would be funded, with councillor Dave O'Neill wanting him to publicly apologise. 

bob prior

Councillor Bob Prior was criticised by some during the meeting. - Credit: Archant

But it was later revealed the grand piano would be funded through private money, rather than taxpayers'.

Mr Prior put forward the recommendation, saying: "I put this forward on the agenda because I believe It will encourage visitors to the town and promote the town around East Anglia.

"William Drew-Batty approached me with the idea and I believe this will attract serious musicians to the town which will encourage concerts.

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"Concerts would happen on a Thursday and be ticketed.

"I spoke to Sue Collis [fellow councillor] abut this who also thought it was a good idea.

"The only location that could house this instrument is St Mary’s Church and they are fully supportive of the idea.

"There is no shortfall of funding for this either."

st marys church

St Mary's Church in Bungay will house the grand piano and ticketed classical concerts will take place on a Thursday. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Dave O’Neill hit back, saying the right process was not followed: "I am very unhappy with how this has arisen, it has brought the council into disrepute on social media.

"I am a classical music fan but this has not been consulted by anyone it has just been put on the agenda, you didn’t specify this was from private money and not from council money.

"The lack of consultation means I can not support this proposal."

Phil Love was also against the proposal, saying the grand piano is unlikely to attract large numbers to Bungay.

He said: "To me, this is a niche market and is not something that would draw me into the town.

"St Mary's Church is a redundant building and it does not have good ambience in my opinion.

"I admire your enthusiasm here Bob, but there are ongoing costs to consider long-term."

Despite concerns over costs and funding, other councillors agreed it would be of benefit to the town's music and cultural scene.

Ownership was passed by six votes to five with four abstaining.