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Harris Museum revamp sees costs soar due to inflation

Posted on - 9th December, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
Daffodils in Preston city centre with the Harris and Cenotaph behind Pic: Tony Worrall
Daffodils in Preston city centre with the Harris and Cenotaph behind Pic: Tony Worrall

The redevelopment of the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library is to receive a boost this week, as councillors approved a further contribution of £375,000 on a Cabinet meeting on Thursday 1 December, due to rising costs.

The funding is for the Re-Imagining the Harris project which aims to utilise the unique opportunities provided by the iconic Grade l listed building.

In June 2022, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet agreed to release the remaining £750,000 of the £1m funding previously agreed in 2018, with £250,000 having been paid towards the support of a successful bid to the National Heritage Lottery Fund in 2017.

Read more: First look as the Harris reveals new-look ground floor rotunda 

The harris Pic: Lancashire County Council
The Harris Pic: Lancashire County Council

However, recent price increases within the construction sector and the rising cost of inflation has had a dramatic impact on the costs for the project.

Additional funding of £1.26m has been agreed by Preston City Council and £250,000 of additional funding has been secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Before going into the Cabinet meeting, County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services at Lancashire County Council, said: “We remain committed to the redevelopment of the Harris, demonstrated by the significant contributions we’ve made towards the project.

Read more: Arts Council awards the Harris with national status and further funding of £687,000

“This collaborative project will bring the Harris up to modern standards and preserve its heritage, ensuring that this iconic landmark remains the civic focal point for Preston.

“Unfortunately, circumstances outside of our control have meant that further funds are needed to complete this exciting project as was intended.

“That is why I will be asking cabinet colleagues to contribute a further £375,000 to help see these ambitious plans come to fruition.”

Read more: Preston improvement societies of the Victorian age, education for the masses

Cllr Peter Kelly, Cabinet Member for Culture and Arts at Preston City Council said: “The multi-million-pound programme to restore and reimagine The Harris is central to the extensive regeneration that is currently taking place in Preston City Centre.

“We are all committed to conserving this much-loved heritage building for all to enjoy, and to continue to offer a rich programme of arts and culture for the residents of Preston and for visitors alike.

“The Harris remains the vibrant heart of our community where people want to spend their time and we are confident that despite the rising construction costs and inflation, we remain on track for the delivery of this impactful regeneration scheme in 2024.”

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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