Northampton Charles Rennie Mackintosh museum 78 Derngate expected to receive £400,000 from council for major extension

Grant, part of £25m given to town by government for regeneration, will also fund new 'learning garden'

Monday, 13th September 2021, 5:22 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 5:24 pm

Councillors are expected to approve giving £400,000 to 78 Derngate to fund a major extension of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh museum in Northampton.

West Northamptonshire Council's cabinet is advised to support the grant as part of the £24.9 million handed to the town by the government for regeneration at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, September 14).

As well as expanding the museum, the money will also be used to convert part of the site to create a new 'learning garden', a new tearoom and improved disabled access.

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78 Derngate, the Charles Rennie Mackintosh museum in Northampton

A report for the meeting says: "This will provide for an improved visitor experience within Northampton and build on a brand that is well known as an iconic historic visitor attraction, as part of a growing Cultural Quarter which will increase footfall in the town encouraging economic growth.

"A new publicly accessible outdoor space was a priority from the public consultation undertaken as part of the TIP (Town Investment Plan) process.

"The extension will allow a greater occupancy of the building following Covid-19, improving the sustainability of the museum, while also allowing it to diversify the activities that are offered from the site and allow for an expansion of the retail and restaurant and space for corporate hire.

"This will generate increased income and deliver outputs including increased commercial floorspace, the creation of new direct jobs, additional volunteer roles in the community and assist businesses, as well as provide a learning garden for further educational purposes, widen the visitor demographic and provide improved independent disabled access to the visitor centre."

78 Derngate has already raised £195,000 for the project and received £200,000 from the old Northampton Borough Council, £80,000 from charitable trusts and £43,000 from Lloyds Bank.

The scheme was included as part of the business case for the money Northampton received from the government's Towns Fund in March after 18 months of development.

If 78 Derngate does not receive the £400,000, then it would not only ruin the extension but also jeopardise the rest of the government cash the town has been allocated, according to the council report.

Also included in the TIP is the redevelopment of the old Marks and Spencer and BHS units in Abington Street, the long-awaited Four Waterside scheme and more.