Vehicle museum gears up for all year opening

Photo Neil Cross
The British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland
Photo Neil Cross The British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland
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One of Leyland’s top visitor attractions is set to open throughout the whole year.

The British Commercial Vehicle Museum has successfully received the first stage of Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) in its bid for a £1,588,000 grant.

And it plans to scrap its current winter closing should it get the full bid – called Up Another Gear for the British Commercial Museum.

Other benefits the cash will bring to the King Street museum include structural roof repairs, better lighting, heating and new display layouts and improved facilities for preservation of archive material.

The scheme would create improved visitor facilities, including a shop and toilets and create a multi-purpose space suitable for dining and activities, equipped with a café-bar and projection area.

A volunteering and activity programme would also be delivered.

The museum has now put together a specialist team to take the bid forward. They have just under two years to submit it.

The HLF said this week it was supportive of the bid and that its officers would be working closely with the museum to “develop it and help it take shape”.

Museum manager Keith Moyes said: “With regards to the HLF bid, we have now assembled and contracted the specialists we require to progress to the next stage.

“We have appointed an architectural company, including quantity surveyors, and m&e company, a museum design company, an interpretative plan company and a company to review our extensive archive organisation.

“The project management shall be carried out by a Chester-based organisation Headland Ltd.

“The first meeting of this group of contractors takes place this Friday to plan the way ahead.”

Regarding all-year-round opening, he said: “It would bring extra income and more flexibility for visitors to come without having to plan for the limited days we’re open.”

A total of HLF £94,500 funding has been awarded up front to the museum to help develop the project - with the rest of the money released at a later date, subject to a further application. Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds.

A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding.

A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project.

Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is then confirmed.

Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “Commercial motor vehicles are a vital part of the identity of this area and the museum plays a crucial role in keeping this legacy alive. We are pleased to offer this National Lottery support to help the Museum develop for the future and tell this story to many more people. We look forward to seeing how the plans progress”

The museum was founded in 1983, cherishing some of the most interesting and historic vehicles from our past.

It is a registered charity overseen by trustees.