Paisley Museum to undergo £49m refurb

paisley-museumPlans have been revealed for a £49 million redevelopment of Paisley Museum.

The scheme forms part Renfrewshire Council’s plans to use Paisley’s heritage and cultural assets to transform its future, including a bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Funding proposals for the project will be considered by the council’s Leadership Board on Wednesday.

Original plans estimated the project cost to be £56.7m. However, the council worked with experts in museum and major infrastructure projects, funding partners and architects to reduce the scale of the proposed building work.

Plans include extending the existing museum to contain a reception, café, shop and weaving studio.

In addition, extensive refurbishments will be carried out to the current Victorian-era building, doubling the amount of the town’s collection which could go on view and fixing current issues with disabled access.

An earlier application for £15m from the Heritage Lottery Fund was unsuccessful, as the organisation advised the project needed a greater degree of guaranteed funding to have a better chance of receiving lottery funding.

Plans to fund the project include:

  • The council increasing its contribution to £26m from the initial £15m. The bulk of this will come from money already set aside for town centre regeneration
  • An application to the HLF for £10m, with councillors being asked to authorise that approach
  • Applications for £4m funding from Scotland-wide funding sources
  • A further £4m of direct funding from UK and Scottish Government

  • The remaining £5m would be raised through a major fundraising campaign
  • If funding is secured, the museum would close to the public in 2018 and fully reopen in 2022.

    Council leader Mark Macmillan said: “We have already made huge steps forward in recent years with our ambitious plans to use Paisley’s unique heritage assets to drive a transformation of Renfrewshire’s future.

    “The proposals to revamp Paisley Museum are the signature project of that and will create a lasting legacy for the town and wider area.

    “But transformation of that scale and ambition cannot be achieved without major investment and there is no option but for to the council to find its share of that.

    “Major projects of this scale are rarely funded on the first ask, but the application process saw us receive some positive feedback about the ambition and viability of the project from funders.

    “We also learned what we need to do to have a better chance of being funded next time - and that was to have a greater proportion of the project cost in place.

    “The near-£7m reduction in cost and increased contribution from council resources will bridge that gap, while we now have a more robust fundraising strategy in place to bring in the rest of the investment needed from government and other sources.”

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