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Closing the Museum of Lancashire could COST Lancashire County Council additional £900,000

Posted on - 2nd December, 2015 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, News, Politics, Preston City Centre

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Closing the Museum of Lancashire could see Lancashire County Council handed a large bill by a heritage charity.

The museum recently had £919,400 invested into it by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The county council has said the closure of the museum is necessary as part of a £65 million savings target needed during the next two years. It says closing the museum would save £238,000 per a year.

But the Heritage Lottery Fund has warned it may take action to recover its funding.

A spokeswoman for the HLF said: “We are currently in discussion with Lancashire council in order to assess the situation and the wider risk to our investment.

“It is important that recipients of National Lottery funding honour their contractual obligations, and the recovery of grant money is an option we will consider.”

Prestonian’s have been expressing their dismay at the closure of the museum and heritage groups have also raised concerns.

Sharon Heal, the director of the Museums Association, said: “It would be a great loss to the people and communities of Lancashire if these museums were to close.

“They represent a crucial part of the area’s social history, and the industrial machinery is significant enough to have earned it Designated collection status.

“This threat to collections and the great work that many of these museums do demonstrates the pressure that local authorities are under but the council and public should understand that if the collection is mothballed and the buildings are closed or sold off they could be gone forever.”

The museum employs 12 staff, with two of these roles being full-time.

County councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “These are very difficult decisions that have definitely been made with a heavy heart.

“They are unfortunately necessary because of unprecedented financial pressures caused by cuts to funding by central government and rising demand for our services, particularly those that care for the most vulnerable, such as adult social care.

“We have been in contact with the Heritage Lottery Fund and await further discussions.”

What do you think of the closure plan? Do you visit the Museum of Lancashire? Let us know in the comments below

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