Sekhemka cash will allow Northampton to attract alternative funding, says council leader

Sekhemka, which was sold at auction last month for �16 million
Sekhemka, which was sold at auction last month for �16 million

Northampton will suffer “no reduction in its cultural offer”, the borough council leader has said, despite the decision by Arts Council England to pull future funding from two town museums.

Arts Council England this mornig announced its decision to remove accrediation from Abington Park Museum and the Museum and Art Gallery in Guildhall Road.

Saying the council may appeal the decision, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm), leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “It is disappointing that Arts Council England is removing the accreditation from Northampton Museum and also puzzling at a time when we are possibly one of the only local authorities in the country with plans for a multi-million pound investment in their museum service.

“However, we are confident that with the more than £8 million we have from the sale of Sekhemka, we will be able to attract funding from elsewhere for our extension so there will be absolutely no reduction in our current cultural offer, and we will be able to move ahead with our plans for development.

“ACE contributes to specific, one-off projects carried out in our museum. This year, ACE contributed £25,000 towards our project to digitise the museum’s shoe collection. The funding from ACE does not contribute to the general running of the museum, which costs £900,000 a year.

“Nevertheless, we do believe that we have followed the correct process in making this sale and so are considering an appeal and are taking legal advice on how to go forward.”