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Plans to build museum in Blackpool’s Pavilion Theatre abandoned

Blackpool's Pavilion Theatre. Photo: Paul White Blackpool's Pavilion Theatre. Photo: Paul White
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Plans for a £26 million entertainment museum at Blackpool’s Pavilion Theatre have been scrapped.

The council has claimed the project had become too costly and would be too high a financial risk.

In 2015, Blackpool Council unveiled plans to redevelop the Pavilion Theatre, part of the Winter Gardens, into a museum celebrating the town’s social and entertainment history.

The project received £1.24 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014, to develop a feasibility study.

However, the council has now said that “large costs” associated with transforming the grade II*-listed venue have left it with an £8 million gap in available funding, resulting in the decision not to proceed.

A statement from the council said that plans for a different museum elsewhere in the town will be explored instead.

It added that it would continue to find a new use for the Pavilion, which has not been used as a theatre for about 20 years, but said the plans for a conference centre in the area would “ensure that it is not neglected”.

Council leader Simon Blackburn said: “From day one with the project I have always said that if it didn’t add up financially then we wouldn’t go ahead with it.

“We won’t ever risk taxpayers’ money unless we are happy that we can recover that investment. While the business plan was properly thought through, the financial risk that the council would have to take to get the museum off the ground was simply too high.”

He reiterated that the council would continue to explore the possibility of a museum in Blackpool to champion the resort’s role as a British holiday destination, but did not say that it would be entertainment-focused.

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