Plans for a £26m Museum of Blackpool which would have told the story of the seaside resort have been scrapped by the Town’s Council.
The museum was planned to open in the Pavilion Theatre and Horseshoe in the Winter Gardens, and was set to feature artefacts, film, music and theatre from the town.
However the council in a statement released today said that the large costs to develop the Grade II* listed building, resulting in an £8m gap in the amount of capital funding available to create the museum, means that the Council has today decided not to proceed
Instead, plans for a different museum elsewhere in the town will continue to be explored, using the good work that has already taking place, with a view to submitting new funding bids in future years so that the town can feel still the economic benefits from hosting its first museum.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, 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 tax payers’ 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.
“Let me be clear however. We aren’t packing up our buckets and spades and going home. 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.
“A lot of hard work has been put into this project by officers and volunteers and along with them I am still committed to the idea that a town of Blackpool’s size and importance deserves a dedicated museum, which is what we will work towards now.”
Of the money spent so far on exploring the idea of a museum, much has been spent on vital structural surveys, design and investigation to the Pavilion and Horseshoe that was necessary to help preserve the building.
At the same time, community engagement work with local residents, new relationships with entertainers, as well as establishing a thorough business model will all be put to good use in establishing a museum in the future.
Work will continue to find a new use for the Pavilion and Horseshoe at the Winter Gardens, however the oncoming work to build the conference centre will change the dynamic and possibilities for the area to ensure it is not neglected.