Preston’s much-loved Museum of Lancashire has won a stay of execution from closure.Advertisement
It had previously been due to close in early April but councillors have said the doors will now stay open until the end of September.
Lancashire County Council had been looking to close the Museum, near the Ringway, blaming budget cuts from central government.
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning and Cultural Services, said: “As has been widely reported, the county council’s dire financial situation means that we can no longer afford to run these museums.
“We took the decision to cease funding these five museums with very heavy hearts. We recognise their immense cultural and historical value but when it is unclear how we will pay for essential services for the vulnerable in just two years’ time, it is one of many difficult decisions we have had to make.
“I am pleased to say that we are in active discussions with bodies interested in taking over all five museums, and we will keep the museums open until the end of September to give those discussions the best possible chance of success. It may also present an opportunity for other interested parties to come forward.”
Related: Seven things Prestonians said on hearing the Museum of Lancashire is to close
Closing the Museum of Lancashire could have a further financial sting for the county council, as the Heritage Lottery Fund may look to claw back £919,400 spent on refurbishing the building.
The museum, which employs 12 staff, may see changes to opening times from April onwards.
Any closure of the museum would save the county council £238,000-a-year.
Related: What should happen to the Harris Museum and Art Gallery?
A petition set up to force a re-think about the closure of the museum has attracted 2,000 signatures.
What do you think of the decision? Who do you think will take the museum on? Let us know in the comments below