Prom site for £10m revised museum plan

An artists impression of the proposed Sands Hotel which could also house a museum about Blackpool
An artists impression of the proposed Sands Hotel which could also house a museum about Blackpool
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Hopes of bringing a museum to Blackpool are back on the table - just months after plans to locate the attraction in the Winter Gardens were shelved.

A scaled down scheme, costing around £10.4m compared to the £26m cost of the original proposals, could be incorporated into the proposed Sands Hotel on Central Promenade, the council has confirmed.

Bids for funding are set to be made to the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF), the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Coastal Communities Fund.

It is hoped to secure £4m from the £15m NCRF fund, unveiled by the Government in August to help build a lasting regional legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North, which Blackpool was shortlisted for.

Called the Amuseum, the attraction would tell Blackpool’s story using displays of artefacts, film, music and performance. Collections from partners including the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), and EMI Archive Trust could also be exhibited.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn says in a report to full council: “We had to make a difficult, but necessary decision earlier this year to withdraw the museum project from its proposed location in the Winter Gardens.

“A key factor in this decision related to rising costs associated with using a listed building.

“Since then the team has worked hard on identifying a number of potential alternative locations and attracting new sources of funding.

“The new preferred location on the Promenade will have better footfall and the scheme will continue to deliver all the same aims and objectives at a significantly lower cost than the previous location.”

Plans to put a museum in the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens were axed in July due to an £8m funding shortfall.

A report by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership says the museum would attract 296,000 annual visits, create 40 jobs and be worth around £12.5m in terms of annual spending in the resort.

Work to explore the feasability of a museum in Blackpool has been undertaken since 2014 using a £1.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Decisions on which bids to the NCRF will be funded will be announced by ministers next March.

If the scheme goes ahead, the total cost would be made up of £4m from the NCRF, £3.9m from the council and £2.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.