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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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£1.2m revamp to help give Cumbrian museum the edge

One of Copeland’s most valuable assets is to have a £1.2 million revamp to help boost tourism.

Beacon revamp graphic
Artist’s impression of the revamped Beacon

Copeland council is working to secure grants to develop and extend the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven.

The money will be used to build extra space to attract touring exhibitions and increase the number of conferences and business events held at the harbourside venue.

Initial designs include an extended ‘museum standard’ gallery on the fourth floor and a new conference and learning centre on part of the existing car park.

Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “The Beacon is one of Copeland’s most valuable assets and has great potential to bring more visitors to this part of west Cumbria.

“This is a real opportunity for Whitehaven to be able to hold more events and attract more interest. It’s also important to build capacity which will in turn generate more income so that the Beacon becomes self-sustainable for the long term.”

Ms Woodburn added that due to its “amazing” views and exhibits, there is a fantastic scope to maximise commercial and national exhibitions, offer better opportunities for hire space and hold bigger, more prestigious events.

If grant funding is approved from the Coastal Community Fund and the Copeland Community Fund, building work will begin next spring and be finished by the autumn.

The attraction was under threat from closure last year after it was part of the council’s cost-cutting casualties. However, Sellafield Ltd stepped in and pledged £1.6m over the next five years to keep the venue running.

The grants bid centres on two key objectives: to create a commercial and conference facility and to increase the exhibition offer to visitors.

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