Drawing of the Amuseum proposals by Buttress Architects. Facade designed by FWP.

Amuseum moves step closer with £4m Government backing

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Four visitor attractions in the Lake District, and a proposed museum in Blackpool, have received a share of the Government’s £15m Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

Around £3.3m is being split between Windermere Jetty, Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Museum and Abbot Hall Art Gallery & Museum, with the money being used to enhance the visitor experience, increase accessibility and improve exhibition spaces, aiming to attract nearly 150,000 additional visitors.

In Blackpool, £4m has been allocated to the Amuseum, a museum celebrating the history of the seaside town planned for the site currently occupied by the Sands Venue on the Promenade. In total, the creation of the Amuseum is expected to cost £14m, and is a reworking of the £26m plans for a museum within the Winter Gardens. However, last year these proposals were shelved due to being too expensive, and a new scheme was announced. Buttress is the architect advising the council. Further funding is still needed from the Growth Deal, and Coastal Communities Fund.

The building is being developed by Coolsilk Property & Investment, and is set to include a five-star hotel and leisure complex, designed by Frank Whittle Partnership. A 2020 completion date is being targeted.

Sands Venue

11 projects across the North were competing to win a share of the Government funding, and one of the projects to lose out was Wirral’s proposal to bring Eureka, the national children’s museum, to the town’s waterfront.

The Liverpool City Region LEP is seeking the £11m needed to bring the museum to Seacombe Ferry Terminal. The project is already receiving part of its funding from Merseytravel and Wirral Council.

According to Asif Hamid, chairman of the LEP, Wirral is “continuing to look at other options available.

“Our goal is to continue working with our partners to do everything we can to bring Eureka! to the Wirral waterfront, help regenerate the area and create a place where young people can explore and be inspired.”

The project has also been shortlisted for a bid to The Inspiring Science Fund, a scheme that is co-funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Cllr Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council and Liverpool City Region lead for economic development and culture, said: “While we are bitterly disappointed that the Eureka development did not attract the funding we firmly believe it deserved, this is not the end of the road for this project. We are already making good progress with other funding options, and we hope to be making more positive announcements in the near future. We remain committed to bringing Eureka to the Liverpool City Region and we are confident we can make it happen.”

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