Trustees of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust (The Trust) – which leads the project to build a new museum and art gallery in Swindon- say they are still “determined” to deliver a solution for Swindon’s “great collections” regardless of missing out on a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The Trust submitted a bid for £12.7m via HLF South West in November 2017.
However, HLF says that, while the bid met all the criteria necessary, it had chosen not to select the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery project.
The chairman of the Trust, Robert Hiscox, said: “The work done on the bid has not been wasted, as the profile of Swindon’s culturally important collections has been raised locally and nationally, and has generated huge amounts of engagement around the importance of culture to the people of Swindon. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received and want to thank everyone for all their hard work and passion.”
He continued: “For the last few years we have been very focused on the bid but now we have the opportunity to step back and explore options and look at alternative possibilities.”
According to the Trust, any new solution will be delivered in the context of revised Arts Council and HLF strategic funding frameworks, which will be launched next year.
The leader of Swindon Borough Council, Cllr David Renard, said: “We are disappointed the Trust’s bid was not selected by the HLF but we will not let this setback dim our ambition for a new Museum and Art Gallery.
“The benefits of a new museum and art gallery cannot be underestimated. It will not only encourage millions of people to Swindon but act as a catalyst for significant investment in the surrounding area, acting as a symbol of our ambition for the town.”
He added: “We knew we were up against some extremely tough competition, but we are committed to regenerating the cultural quarter area which will also include the Wyvern Theatre over time. We will be working with the Trust, stakeholders and Swindon residents on all the available options and will announce these plans in due course.”
Pictured above: An artist’s impression of the planned museum and art gallery in Swindon