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The Harris to receive £750k funding as project reaches ‘key milestone’

Posted on - 9th June, 2022 - 8:32am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, History, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment
A damp view looking up Friargate towards the Harris Museum in Preston city centre Pic: Tony Worrall
A damp view looking up Friargate towards the Harris Museum in Preston city centre Pic: Tony Worrall

Councillors will meet to discuss the release of £750,000 to The Re-Imagining the Harris project.

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The redevelopment of The Harris in Preston will take a significant step forward this week, with councillors set to approve the funding now that delivery of the project is ready to commence.

On Thursday, 9 June, Lancashire County Council will be asked to approve the release of the remaining funds from the £1,000,000 previously agreed upon at cabinet in 2018, with £250,000 paid towards a bid to the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

That bid was successful, securing £4,500,000 for the development phase.

Read more: The Harris lands £585k Arts Council funding to upgrade special exhibition galleries

County Councillor Peter Buckley, the cabinet member for community and cultural services at Lancashire County Council, said: “This is an important step forward in realising the ambitious redevelopment of The Harris.

“Over the coming years, Preston will transform, and we remain committed to ensuring The Harris remains the civic focal point for the city.

“Through collaboration, this historic building will be brought up to modern standards while preserving the heritage of this iconic landmark.

“This is an exciting time for The Harris and Preston, and I look forward to seeing these ambitious plans come to fruition.”

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Preston City Council owns the Grade I listed building and runs the museum and art gallery, with Lancashire County Council leasing 40 per cent of the building to house the largest library in its service.

In 2015, the city and county councils established the Re-Imagining the Harris project to transform the Harris Museum, art gallery and library.

It is part of the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, a transformational development programme led by the city council and delivered between 2021 and 2026.

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The £750,000 contribution from Lancashire County Council is requested following the successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid, with the project ready to commence.

The Re-Imagining the Harris project will create a sustainable and high-quality offering with a refreshed and community-led museum, art gallery and library services.

An objective of the project is to effectively utilise the opportunities provided by the Grade I listed building and civic focal point for the city and to create a vibrant, cultural and community hub for the people of Preston and Lancashire, with a diversified range of income streams.

Read more: Preston residents invited to discuss how local buildings can impact community

Other elements to the redevelopment of the Harris include:

  • High-level repair and conservation work to the roofs, rainwater goods, stonework and basement
  • Enhanced accessibility into and through the building using three historic entrances
  • Provision of a new vertical circulation core with lift and staircase
  • Enhanced visitor facilities, including ground floor café, shop and reception and a flexible events space with seasonal pop in café on the first floor
  • Provision of a joined-up three-year engagement programme for young people, the local community, graduates, volunteers and families.

Read more: Astley Hall reopens with visit from Sir Lindsay Hoyle

The Towns Fund award made to Preston in March 2021 included £4.1m allocations to the Harris project.

Garfield and Weston Trust and Foundation, Wolfson Foundation, the Museum Estates Development Fund (MEND) and the Arts Council and Capital Investment Programme (CIP) provided additional funding during 2021/22.

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