Harris Museum Preston

Harris Museum tries again with lottery funding bid

Lancashire County Council is set to agree to put forward £1m towards an £11m project to redevelop the grade one-listed Harris Museum in Preston, ahead of a £4.5m bid for Heritage Lottery funding.

The listed building in the centre of Preston is currently used a museum and art gallery, with Lancashire County Council leasing 40% of the building to house a library.

The council established its ‘Re-imagining the Harris’ project in 2015 with a masterplan drawn up in 2016; this was expected to cost £18.6m. A bid was put forward to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £10m, but this was turned down, although the bid did receive favourable feedback.

The council’s plan is to make the Harris a “civic focal point for the city”, featuring a library, museum, art gallery, with an “animated cultural and community hub” with “a diversified range of income streams”.

Although the initial bid for funding was unsuccessful, the council will next week agree to make a second attempt for Heritage Lottery funding, this time aiming for £4.5m.

In a bid to make the project more deliverable, it has been split into two phases, with the first expected to cost around £11m, and the remainder of the work would be developed once the first phase completes. This second phase is likely to start around 2024.

The breakdown of the £10.5m cost of the first phase is split between £4.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund; £1m from the county council; £1m from Preston City Council; £1m from the City Deal; £1m from trusts and foundations; and the remainder coming from Arts Council England, other stakeholders, and local fundraising.

Lancashire County Council is set to sign off the bid at a meeting on 9 August.

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