The multi-million pound Milton Keynes Museum expansion WILL go ahead despite an unexpected refusal of lottery funding.
Museum bosses were banking on £1.5 million from the Heritage Lottery fund towards the £7.5 million cost of building two new galleries at its Wolverton base.
One gallery will house the treasure trove of Bronze age, Roman and Saxon archaeological finds dug up when the city was being built.
All these items have been stuck in vaults or on display in museums up to 30 miles away for almost half a century.
This week Milton Keynes council pledged to keep its promise to fund more than £5 million of the expansion cost.
Officers have been working with the museum and other heritage partners for two years to plan the extension,
Ironically this planning phase was funded with a £0.5 million grant from Lottery Heritage Funding – specifically because it recognised the need for such a facility in MK.
Now, with building work due to start this year, LHF has announced a sudden change of heart. While they recognised the potential for the project, they felt the “risks were too high.”
But museum director Bill Griffiths is already vowing staunchly that work on the galleries will go ahead as planned, and he will be seeking “clever ways” to plug the funding gap.
He said: “The museum refurbishment/expansion project is still very much needed for Milton Keynes.”