Backing for new Harris Lottery Fund bid

Harris museum and art gallery
Harris museum and art gallery

A renewed bid to get Heritage Lottery Fund support for Preston’s £18.6m Re-Imagining The Harris project has received the backing of two local councils.

Both Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council have agreed to allocate £45,000 each to help finance a new submission to the Fund (HLF) next November.

The move follows an HLF rejection in June of an earlier bid for £10m funding for the project which seeks to fit the Harris Museum and Art Gallery for its 21st century future.

Members of the county council’s cabinet were told that while there is still hope of getting HLF support, key issues need addressing and progress must be made on the project.

Issues for decision include:

• If and when will the Harris library service and its staff transfer to Preston City Council? ;

• When will there be more public consultation on the proposals to create a new entrance to the building leading on to the town’s flag market?;

• What is the future for other now-closed county museums - in particular the mothballed MoL the Museum of Lancashire and how will it link with the Harris?

Councillors received a detailed report on what needs to be done next and a timeline has been produced to make progress on the project.

County Council leader Coun Coun Geoff Driver said: “It is a really worthwhile project.”

The report also asked what the future will hold for the Gallery of Preston, sited within the Harris Museum, which has benefited from previous HLF investment.

UCLan staff and students will be consulting the public in 2018 on changes to the Harris entrance.

A UCLan spokesman said: “We are delighted that our architecture and building conservation staff and students are involved in this fantastic initiative. Options for the consultation element of the project are currently being discussed but have not yet been finalised.”