Palace House cuts jobs nine months after opening

Museum’s revenues are lower than expected
Jonathan Knott
Palace House, Newmarket, which houses the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, will be cutting jobs less than a year after opening.

In a statement, the venue said yesterday that it is “undertaking a cost-cutting programme that will involve a small reduction in staff numbers”.

It added that the action was necessary because of lower than anticipated revenues.

The venue opened in November with the help of a £4.2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A finalist in the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year award, it is home to the National Horseracing Museum, the collection of the British Sporting Art Trust, and the Retraining of Racehorses charity.

The previous National Horseracing Museum was located on Newmarket High Street from 1983 to 2006. The centre said that since opening on the new site, footfall has not been growing as rapidly as forecast. It has received more than 23,000 visitors, which is nearly double the annual amount achieved at the old museum.

“The National Heritage Centre is undertaking this measure reluctantly,” said the venue. “However, action is necessary to ensure that the museum protects the visitor experience while avoiding any financial difficulties.”

It added that the management team remain convinced that the visitor experience is of the highest quality, because of its Museum of the Year shortlisting and a certificate of excellence received on the Tripadvisor website.

A spokeswoman for the museum said that it could not comment further on details of the staff restructuring because it was still in a consultation phase.

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