The entrance to the Pavilion in Blackpool's Winter Gardens (c) Michael D Beckwith. This file is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.

Blackpool cancels plans for £26m museum

Jonathan Knott, 25.07.2017
Council to explore creating a museum in a different place
Blackpool council has cancelled plans to build a £26m museum in the town’s Grade II* listed Pavilion Theatre.

The project was awarded £1.24m by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014 to explore the feasibility of developing a museum. But in a statement last week, the council said that it had today decided not to proceed with the project, due to an £8m capital funding gap.

Council leader Simon Blackburn said: “From day one with the project I have always said that if it didn’t add up financially then we wouldn’t go ahead with it.

“We won’t ever risk taxpayers’ money unless we are happy that we can recover that investment. While the business plan was properly thought through, the financial risk that the council would have to take to get the museum off the ground was simply too high.”

Blackburn added: “We will continue to explore the possibility of building a museum in Blackpool to tell people about the important role that this resort has played and still does play as a favourite British holiday destination.”

The council said that work will also continue on finding a different use for the Pavilion Theatre and Horseshoe venue, which is in the resort’s Winter Gardens complex.

Comments

Sort by: Most recent - Most liked
Jonathan Gammond
Access , Wrexham County Borough Museum
01.08.2017, 23:25
They should look along the coast and ask Southport for some advice. The Atkinson is a fantastic museum and combines a theatre, library, art gallery, museum, cafe and more all in one space.
Anonymous
01.08.2017, 23:22
Seems like a case of trying to run before you can walk. I did visit Blackpool, unfortunately I didn't get completely drunk so I can remember the experience. I can't recall any museum and a quick search on the internet has drawn a blank (though there are loads of other attractions like Madame Tussaud's, a Dungeon Museum etc .). It is hard to believe a town would go from having no museum to spending £26 million on one - sometimes it is great to be really ambitious but how did they test the water first?!! (Not the sea obviously unless they have a strong constitution!)
08.08.2017, 13:30
I think Anonymous is doing Blackpool a major disservice here. I am surprised that you can visit the town and think that they unable to successfully deliver against highly ambitious projects? Are you suggesting that they should have built a small tower - just to test the waters - before they went and built a big one?

Not only has Blackpool been re-positioning itself as a heritage leisure attraction for a number of years (something Margate is just starting to catch up on) but they have a long record of museums, galleries and heritage. They pioneered the popularisation of Epstein (http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/miracle-or-monstrosity) came close to having the national collection of costume (http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/14649) and currently operate the brilliant Grundy Art Gallery.

Furthermore, Blackpool does not operate in isolation. They successfully draw on expertise across the north west of England. They have engaged experienced and inspirational people to work on this. I am so sorry that they will not see their work completed.