Blackpool Museum would have cost £60m

IT would have cost in the region of £60m to build a new National Theatre Museum in Blackpool, town hall chiefs revealed today.

The Gazette yesterday reported how ambitious plans for the cultural attraction had been dropped because of the cost.

But exciting new proposals could still see an iconic new gallery provided in the resort, which would host a wide range of collections from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

It has not yet been decided whether this could be in a new building or in the form of the restoration of existing space in somewhere like the Winter Gardens.

But culture chiefs are hoping regular temporary exhibitions will be brought to Blackpool under the V&A banner.

Blackpool Council's executive director for community services Paul Walker said: "We are still working extremely closely with the V&A on proposals whereby Blackpool will host major exhibitions from across the wider family of V&A collections.

"It's about theatre and performance first, but also jewellery, fashion and photography, providing an opportunity to bring a much more contemporary range of exhibitions which will include theatre and performance but not solely those elements.

"We still have an option of looking at a new iconic building or working with an existing building in Blackpool. We have an ambition to deliver something special."

The Story of the Supremes, from the Mary Wilson collection at the V&A, has already attracted thousands of people through the doors of the Grundy Art Gallery.

Around 1,700 people visited in the first five days, and 500 on the first Saturday, including residents and people from out of town.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said he hoped bringing the V&A brand to Blackpool would bring similar success to that enj-oyed by Liverpool and St Ives which both host the Tate.

He said: "I think we will be in a very strong position, not just for potential funding from the Lottery but also in terms of the Regional Development Agency.

"Myself and Joan Humble have been lobbying the trustees of the V&A and have talked to culture secretary Andy Burnham about this as well."

Blackpool North and Fleetwood MP Joan Humble said: "I think we should look to get as big and as positive a response from the V&A as we can."

The partnership would be similar to one the V&A has with Sheffield Millennium Galleries, which holds about two exhibitions a year from the V&A, including the current Vivienne Westwood display.