Ipswich to spend £300k on museum bid – but no guarantee of success

Ipswich Museum in High Street. Picture: PAUL GEATER.

Ipswich Museum in High Street. Picture: PAUL GEATER. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council is expected to spend £300,000 of its own money on developing a proposal to restore the town’s museum – on top of the £461,600 granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

But there is no guarantee that at the end of the process, the HLF will agree to go ahead with funding a large proportion of the £8.1m project to restore the Victorian building and turn it into a museum the town can be proud of.

It was announced just before Christmas that the HLF would contribute towards the £807,000 cost of drawing up a full-scale proposal to strip the museum back to its Victorian heyday and introduce new galleries, a new cafe and extra visitor facilities.

The cost of the rebuilding is expected to come to £8.1m with a £4.3m grant from the HLF if a second-round bid for funding is successful.

However the HLF has warned that not all the projects that have been given first-round funding to develop projects can expect to be successful.

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Councillors are being told in a report by officers: “The council will need to ensure that the development phase is as productive as possible and the HLF will support in achieving a quality outcome, but are not able to fund at round two all the projects which are given development funding at round one.

“The HLF state that they do expect healthy success rates, but they will not be as high as they have been in the past, given the pressures on their funds.”

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The council has until the end of 2021 to complete the second round bid – but expects to complete the bid by the middle of 2020.

One of the costs of the scheme is the appointment of a development manager, costing £50,000.

The members of the executive are being recommended to approve the £300,000 match funding to allow work to start on preparing the project as soon as possible.

The Friends of Ipswich Museum are to contribute £10,000 to the development project – and a further £35,000-worth of time is expected to be “donated” by volunteers helping to develop the project.

The vast majority of the £807,000 – £558,600 – is to go to architects and gallery design experts to draw up the detailed plans for the restoration of the museum.

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