A heritage group has launched a stinging attack on Preston City Council’s plans for the grade-I listed Harris Museum and Art Gallery.Advertisement
The Victorian Society has written to the Heritage Lottery Fund who are due to visit the Harris shortly to see the £15million proposal for ‘re-imagining the Harris’.
Secretary of the Save Our Harris Group Aidan Turner-Bishop said: “It’s frankly shocking, even baffling, that those supposedly charged with supporting our city’s arts and culture could even consider such a drastic intervention in one of our most important works of art”.
The plans from the city council include a new entrance to the front of the building, through the wall which faces into the Flag Market.
Read more: Historic collections at the heart of Harris lottery bid
A second entrance in Lancaster Road would also be opened up.
The Victorian Society has called for the city council to ‘re-think its damaging proposal’ and ‘commission a comprehensive assessment of the building’s significance’.
Mr Turner-Bishop also appeared on BBC Lancashire to sound off about the proposals.
Proposals for the Harris, which are the city’s biggest ever lottery bid, were tabled in December.
The city council has also faced criticism from political magazine Private Eye. Its Piloti columnist accused the council of vandalism over the Harris plans.
Project leader for the re-imagining the Harris project Jon Finch said: “The Re-Imagining the Harris project has been built on extensive engagement with local communities, partners and stakeholders. The project is at an early stage and we want to continue to hear what people – of all ages and from all walks of life – think about these early ideas and the way forward for the Harris.
“This is an on-going dialogue, in which we are actively encouraging feedback, and are keen to continue to work with all interested parties to secure the future success of the Harris.
“For instance we have been approached by the architecture departments from both the University of Central Lancashire and Manchester Metropolitan University to consider the challenges, and their possible solutions, of the Re-Imagining Project and will be working with them in the coming weeks”.