The Queen Street Mill is one of the museums due to close on 30 September

Last ditch attempt to save Lancashire museums

Nicola Sullivan, 31.08.2016
Business plans to save museums deemed 'robust' by cabinet member
Business plans to prevent the closure of five museums in Lancashire have been received by Lancashire County Council.
 
This follows the council’s call in February for third parties seeking to run the museums to come forward. Interested organisations were asked to submit detailed plans for the future operation of the museums.
 
Plans relating to the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster, the Maritime Museum in Fleetwood, the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, Queen Street Mill Textile Museum in Burnley and Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on 8 September. This meeting will decide which of the museums will be transferred to third parties.
 
LCC said that all five museums would close to the public on 30 September 2016, while negotiations continue with the organisations that have applied to take them over. It is expected that the approved transfers will be made by the end of December this year.
 
Councillor Marcus Johnstone, the cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "This is extremely good news for the future of these museums. There is obviously still a lot of work to do but it is very encouraging to see such robust and well-thought-through business plans.

"In an ideal world we would not have been forced into this position but as we no longer have the funding to keep these cultural resources open we can at least do a thorough job to ensure that they have a sustainable future."
 
Budget cuts mean that the council can no longer afford to fund the museums. Its  financial strategy report, published towards the end of last year, concluded that over the five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21 the council needed to make savings of £262m on top of those previously agreed.

To this end the 2016-17 budget is bringing in savings of £64.2m.

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