Bid for children's museum in Worcester shelved due to council HQ sale

Bid for children's museum in Worcester shelved due to council HQ sale

Bid for children's museum in Worcester shelved due to council HQ sale

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards Exclusive by , Political Reporter

PLANS for a new £1.8 million children's museum in Worcester are being dumped because of the city council's HQ sale.

Your Worcester News can reveal how in recent months council chiefs were considering turning the ground floor of Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum into an attraction for young people.

Last year consultants from Birmingham were drafted in to draw up a business plan for the venture, on the basis it would turn the ground floor of the Foregate Street venue into a high-quality museum to attract schools from across the region.

As recently as last month, after looking at various other options for the building, a children's museum still was considered the best proposal and thoughts were turning to a Heritage Lottery Fund bid for cash.

But now the council's Orchard House HQ complex is being sold to the University of Worcester for £3.1 million, as we first revealed on Tuesday, and the museum site is where the staff are set to relocate to.

The details are contained in a report set to be voted on by the Conservative cabinet on Tuesday.

It also reveals that other options for relocating staff included the Guildhall, or some empty public sector buildings, but both are expected to be ruled out.

Although the Guildhall has significant pockets of empty space in the wings, the spaces are relatively small and not open plan.

Likewise, some of the public sector options are buildings so small, it would mean staff having to split up into at least two different sites.

Councillor Chris Mitchell, cabinet member for finance, said: "The option we're looking at is the best value-for-money one for this council and the taxpayer."

It has also emerged that the Moors car park, which is also being handed to the university, will be open to the public during the annual Christmas Victorian Fayre as well as weekends.

And West Mercia Police has been told it can keep the 12 spaces it uses on the car park too.

Subject to the sale of the Orchard House complex being approved on Tuesday, the move to the museum will take place by March 2015.

Between now and then the council estimates it will need to spend between £200,000 and £30,0,000 on refurbishing it.

They will take up the ground floor's vacant space, which has been used for exhibitions since The Hive opened in 2012.

The actual museum facilities will be staying open even after the council staff are occupying a portion of the building.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services rents some space inside Wyatt House, which is also being sold as part of the deal, but has been told its tenancy is secure until 2021.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:20pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Nortynorse says...

Is there anything Green and his godforsaken university is not buying up.!!!!!!
Is there anything Green and his godforsaken university is not buying up.!!!!!! Nortynorse
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Fri 25 Jul 14

skychip says...

I suppose consultants were paid well. It obviously to no avail. Another waste of money.
I suppose consultants were paid well. It obviously to no avail. Another waste of money. skychip
  • Score: 2

4:41pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Marant says...

I can't see coach parties of school kids getting to orchard house without causing chaos anyway. Where would they park? Nice idea, but likely didn't need a consultant to say it was non-viable.
I can't see coach parties of school kids getting to orchard house without causing chaos anyway. Where would they park? Nice idea, but likely didn't need a consultant to say it was non-viable. Marant
  • Score: -2

7:08pm Fri 25 Jul 14

CJH says...

Marant wrote:
I can't see coach parties of school kids getting to orchard house without causing chaos anyway. Where would they park? Nice idea, but likely didn't need a consultant to say it was non-viable.
It wasn't going to be in Orchard House - it was supposed to be in the old library. So now the inadequate museum upstairs won't be enhanced by the additional museum downstairs because they need it for damned OFFICES!!! With the number of people they're making redundant at County Hall surely they could have transferred people there. But God forbid there should be any logic or common sense applied to the problem!
[quote][p][bold]Marant[/bold] wrote: I can't see coach parties of school kids getting to orchard house without causing chaos anyway. Where would they park? Nice idea, but likely didn't need a consultant to say it was non-viable.[/p][/quote]It wasn't going to be in Orchard House - it was supposed to be in the old library. So now the inadequate museum upstairs won't be enhanced by the additional museum downstairs because they need it for damned OFFICES!!! With the number of people they're making redundant at County Hall surely they could have transferred people there. But God forbid there should be any logic or common sense applied to the problem! CJH
  • Score: 1

7:10pm Fri 25 Jul 14

CJH says...

Nortynorse wrote:
Is there anything Green and his godforsaken university is not buying up.!!!!!!
It wasn't the university which put it up for sale, so don't blame them for buying it. Would you rather it remained empty and a potential eyesore?
[quote][p][bold]Nortynorse[/bold] wrote: Is there anything Green and his godforsaken university is not buying up.!!!!!![/p][/quote]It wasn't the university which put it up for sale, so don't blame them for buying it. Would you rather it remained empty and a potential eyesore? CJH
  • Score: 3

7:59pm Fri 25 Jul 14

skychip says...

County Hall has DEFRA and Tax offices from Whittington Road going in there before long. County Hall will eventually end up with more non County Council staff than CC staff.
County Hall has DEFRA and Tax offices from Whittington Road going in there before long. County Hall will eventually end up with more non County Council staff than CC staff. skychip
  • Score: 0

11:28pm Fri 25 Jul 14

VertisRob says...

This is all going to explode in their faces in a few years, as we will have an insane bill to pick up. They make their immediate figures look good to win elections by contracting out their services that they currently do in house like I.T for schools etc to private companies. This allows them to free space, sell assets such as buildings and get an immediate cash injection for the sale but the now privatised service will cost a high percentage more year on year. This will lead to the same government elected for another term and during that time the new 'mostly' privatised expensive council services would of drained the proceeds of the original sale dry, they wont be able to afford running them and there will be no more assets to sell, so our taxes will seriously inflate, a new government will come in and the only option they will have is to re-buy everything that was sold those years ago and run everything in-house again at another huge expense.

And this is all being instigated by consultants being paid a fortune at county hall currently tasked with bringing a cash injection and reducing running costs. They look great on paper now when it brings in £3.1m and businesses but in a competitive initial bid to run our services but they escalate rapidly. Nothing is cheaper than doing it yourself. The higher management need to remove the contracted consultants quickly before they get more ill advice on selling of public services and assets and making staff doing a great job redundant so a high flyer in a central london tower can do the same job, with less experience and no local knowledge for double the price. Its a no brainer.
This is all going to explode in their faces in a few years, as we will have an insane bill to pick up. They make their immediate figures look good to win elections by contracting out their services that they currently do in house like I.T for schools etc to private companies. This allows them to free space, sell assets such as buildings and get an immediate cash injection for the sale but the now privatised service will cost a high percentage more year on year. This will lead to the same government elected for another term and during that time the new 'mostly' privatised expensive council services would of drained the proceeds of the original sale dry, they wont be able to afford running them and there will be no more assets to sell, so our taxes will seriously inflate, a new government will come in and the only option they will have is to re-buy everything that was sold those years ago and run everything in-house again at another huge expense. And this is all being instigated by consultants being paid a fortune at county hall currently tasked with bringing a cash injection and reducing running costs. They look great on paper now when it brings in £3.1m and businesses but in a competitive initial bid to run our services but they escalate rapidly. Nothing is cheaper than doing it yourself. The higher management need to remove the contracted consultants quickly before they get more ill advice on selling of public services and assets and making staff doing a great job redundant so a high flyer in a central london tower can do the same job, with less experience and no local knowledge for double the price. Its a no brainer. VertisRob
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree