Harris loses out on lottery funding in ‘ambitious bid’

Posted on - 28th June, 2017 - 10:29am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News
The temporary sign for the Harris as part of Creed's work Pic: Paul Melling
The temporary sign for the Harris as part of Creed’s work Pic: Paul Melling

An ambitious proposal for the Harris Museum and Art Gallery has been stalled.


Preston City Council’s lottery bid for £10million has been rejected.

This proposals, which included creating two new entrances into the building, failed due to a the ‘high level of competition’.

The man in charge of culture and leisure for the city council has described the result as ‘disappointing’.

Re-Imagining the Harris is a £15million project aimed at ‘opening up the building’ and adding a new entrance direct onto the Flag Market as well as re-opening the Lancaster Road entrance.

How the Harris Museum may look in future with an entrance direct from the Flag Market
How the Harris Museum may look in future with an entrance direct from the Flag Market

Read more: Alternatives for how the Harris revamp may look

The Heritage Lottery Fund, who were being asked to contribute the bulk of the funding for the project, confirmed to the city council in April it had been unsuccessful. An announcement regarding the outcome was delayed due to the city council being in purdah for the local and general elections.

Executive member for culture and leisure councillor Peter Kelly said: “Although this result is disappointing, it is not entirely unexpected – most large scale bids of this nature have to apply multiple times, and implement advised adjustments to their applications before being successful.

“Overall, the feedback we have received has been hugely positive and so we will work together with Lancashire County Council to build on this strong foundation, and make further improvements for a potential re-submission in late 2017.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund have provided the city council with ‘insights into areas for development’.

The city council received a funding boost, and a help to its future lottery re-bid, when the Arts Council announced £225,000-per-year for cultural events and activities at the Harris during the next four years.

A spokesman for the Save Our Harris campaign group said: “It’s good news that plans to deface the facade of the grade 1 building have been halted.

“The Harris is a nationally important work of neo-Classical architecture. It deserves to be treated with care and respect.

“This is an opportunity for the Councils to reflect on their failed bid and to consider a more sympathetic and constructive future for our Harris.”

The Harris includes the library, operated by Lancashire County Council, and they are reviewing its long-term future.

Read more: Criticism of city council’s Harris lottery funding bid

County councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We want to continue to work with Preston City Council to find the best way of securing a long-term future for the library service.”

There were 22 applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund this year – and four were successful.

The city council has confirmed Jon Finch, who was brought in to run the Re-Imagining the Harris project, is to remain in post.

What do you think of the decision and the proposals for the Harris? Let us know in the comments below

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