Snibston Discovery Museum was estimated to be worth more than £4.2m to the local economy

Snibston demolition will cost almost £180,000

Nicola Sullivan, 26.01.2016
FOI request reveals costs associated with the closure and demolition of the Snibston Discovery Museum
The closure and partial demolition of the Snibston Discovery Museum site will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.

Leicestershire County Council’s response to the FOI request stated that clearance of the Coalville site, which closed in July after a legal challenge to save it failed, would cost £179, 625.

The council will also have to pay back £146,146 to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has invested in the museum and its collections. The redundancy costs associated with the closure reached £142,000, although this is lower than the £167,000 predicted.

A report presented to the council’s cabinet on 14 January last year stated that the net cost of operating Snibston site, including the Century Theatre, was £790,000 in 2013-14. If no changes were made to the operation of the Snibston site this figure could increase to around £900,000 in later years, said the report.

The council intends to sell the main museum building to developers, but its plans to create a smaller museum in the site’s adjoining colliery have been thrown out.

A council spokesman said that 37% of the museum’s exhibits will go to Leicester City Council’s museum service, from where they were on loan. Other items are being stored in the site’s pithead buildings, the county council’s Collections Resource Centre and at the County Hall campus, he added.

Concerns have been raised about the future of the Century Theatre, Britain’s oldest surviving travelling theatre, which operates from the Snibston site.

Terri Eyon, the Labour councillor for north-west Leicestershire, said: “We have also lost the context for our lovely museum artefact that still exists – the Century Theatre. Now rather than sitting next to a museum it will be sitting next to a derelict shed. It doesn't have very good access, because this was previously through or around the museum.

"There has been a lot of work put in over the years to build the theatre up so it wasn’t just a museum artefact but actually a living vibrant theatre. It will probably struggle now.”

A spokesman from the county council said that access to the theatre would be maintained during the dismantling of the exhibition hall, which is likely to begin in early spring.


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MA Member
19.02.2016, 09:27
Looks like Leicestershire made no effort to find alternative options for Snibby ( despite moaning they had massive savings to find). Lancashire have set up an emergency fund to support alternative providers coming forward. Where is the evidence that Leicestershire has been working with ACE and other partners to find a solution, inject some external cash and support other governance options? Been checking Leicestershire website and can find nothing about this or about what's happened to the collections.
MA Member
16.02.2016, 17:38
Snibston Discovery Museum is being demolished now. The galleries have been " soft stripped" ( museum collections removed) and the museum is now classed as a " warehouse" in the demolition order.
MA Member
15.02.2016, 19:16
Looks like Lancashire Council is openly exploring other options for running some of its museums and asking potential partners to come forward. That's something. Leicestershire buried a report from well known consultants Winkworth Sherwood who, if their other work for the sector is anything to go by, would have recommended exploring the potential of a Trust for Snibston and possibly other museums in Leicestershire. The report never saw the light of day and was apparently shredded. So much for valuing your museums.
MA Member
15.02.2016, 10:52
That strategic thinking and partnership working are the cornerstone of survival for our civic museums seems pretty obvious, and there are some good examples of where local authorities and governing bodies are embracing this. Leicestershire County Council however should be seen as the case study for what NOT to do and the sad story of Snibston the case in point. By its own admission the Council has already spent over £640,000 on clearing the 5,200 sq m gallery spaces of collections. That excludes the staff time to document, pack, transport off site and store at least 1500 objects of which less than 10% belong to the City Council. So around £1 million- plus the ongoing storage costs- Whittle jet engines,medieval mining timbers, aircraft and electric vehicles among them. That cost would have enabled the museum to have stayed open for 4 more years based on the £240K saving originally required. To cap it all, back in 2011,the Council turned down an HLF grant of at least £3 m, and English Heritage funding, to restore the "at risk" scheduled colliery buildings. It used £2m of its own money to put a sticking plaster over the worst bits and has now said it cant afford to open the mining museum which formed part of the original lottery bid. So nationally significant heritage is still "at risk" ,and deteriorating, and the museum galleries will be demolished to expose contaminated land fit for very little. So much for Council strategy, creativity and valuing partnerships.