Five Lancashire museums are to close at the end of September whilst negotiations continue over their future.
The “mothballing” of the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster, Fleetwood Museum, Queen Street Mill Textile Museum in Burnley and the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale was announced today.
It could be at least the new year before any reopening of the facilities, which a broke county council says it can no longer afford to run.
The council says it now hopes to arrange a “transfer” to four, as yet unnamed, organisations by December 31, 2016.
Interested organisations had been asked to submit detailed business plans for the future operation of the closure threatened museums.
County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “This is extremely good news for the future of these museums. There is obviously still a lot of work to do but it is very encouraging to see such robust and well thought through business plans.
“In an ideal world we would not have been forced into this position but as we no longer have the funding to keep these cultural resources open we can at least do a thorough job to ensure that they have a sustainable future.”
As negotiations are still under way,the county council declined to name the organisations involved.
A council spokeswoman said: “Care and maintenance plans will be put in place to ensure that they are looked after, preserved properly, and kept safe and secure. The intention is that negotiations are concluded as soon as possible with a view to the transfers being made by 31 December 2016.”