Lottery bid as museum vision moves closer

Plans for Blackpool Museum open to the public at the Winter Gardens.  Pictured are Deborah Makin and Tracy Collins.
Plans for Blackpool Museum open to the public at the Winter Gardens. Pictured are Deborah Makin and Tracy Collins.
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Ambitious proposals for a Blackpool Museum are set to take a key step forward.

Town hall chiefs are expected to submit the application for the second round of Lottery funding towards the £25m project next week.

Plans for Blackpool Museum open to the public at the Winter Gardens

Plans for Blackpool Museum open to the public at the Winter Gardens

Councillors are also being asked to approve nearly £2m of repairs to the Winter Gardens which will house the museum.

Entry to the new museum will be free for Blackpool residents.

The attraction, which is set to celebrate British seaside holidays, is expected to attract 270,000 visitors a year, have a £2m turnover, generate a £12m economic boost and create 40 jobs in the museum, plus another 340 indirect jobs.

The council is set to apply for nearly £15m of Lottery funding towards the project.

It is also putting in £2.2m of its own funds, leaving another £8m to be found.

Potential sources including charitable grants have already been identified to raise the additional cash from.

A report to the council’s executive committee says: “The Heritage Lottery Fund approved a round one grant for Blackpool Council in May 2014 to develop the concept of a museum for Blackpool.

“£13.4m was earmarked for the Blackpool project on the condition a round two application was submitted to secure the remaining funding.

“Significant progress has been made since 2014 in all areas of design and development.

“The design teams have developed plans to create permanent and temporary gallery spaces, visitor and staff facilities, learning areas and an immersive, participatory and inclusive experience.”

The museum will be built inside the Horseshoe and Pavilion areas of the Winter Gardens.

Since 2014, heritage teams have held a number of events to collect memories from residents including former performers, to include in the new museum.

Artefacts representing film, music and performance will be showcased.

At the same time, councillors are being urged to approve repairs to the roof of the Spanish hall and the Coronation Street facade at the Grade II listed building.

This will include borrowing of £895,000, £600,000 from the council’s capital spending programme, and £500,000 grant funding.

A report warns without investment the damage, largely caused by water getting in, will get worse.

There is already scaffolding up alongside the Coronation Street facade.

The report says: “The Spanish Hall contains some of the most important historic features within the Winter Gardens complex.”

But the condition of the roof means currently the space is being under-used.

The moves to secure the future of the Winter Gardens come as preparations begin to build a new £25m conference centre on the Leopold Grove side of the historic landmark.

Building work is expected to start in October this year, and be completed in spring 2019.

Read more about Blackpool’s heritage here