UPDATE: Woolwich Firepower Royal Artillery Museum 'to leave by 2017' - former board member hits out (From News Shopper)
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UPDATE: Woolwich Firepower Royal Artillery Museum 'to leave by 2017' - former board member hits out
Woolwich's Firepower museum is set to leave the borough due to low visitor numbers, council documents have revealed.
Greenwich Council's cabinet will tonight consider taking on the leases for four Royal Arsenal buildings to create a "heritage and cultural quarter" - including the three sites currently occupied by Firepower.
A report to be considered by cabinet members states: "Firepower (the Royal Artillery Museum) continues to fail to meet its own target of 200,000 visitors per annum and having undertaken a review of its
financial and business viability has indicated a willingness to relocate from Woolwich.
"There is increasing interest in the Royal Arsenal from a number of heritage and cultural organisations. The potential withdrawal of Firepower presents an opportunity to release a number of key sites and capitalise on this interest and turn the council’s long held ambition to develop a heritage/cultural quarter in the Arsenal into a reality."
The documents reveal that the council has already been in discussion with Firepower - set to leave by 2017 - over acquiring the leases.
And it states that, while the main collection would move outside the borough, elements covering the Royal Arsenal's Woolwich history would be kept in Building 40 and also a permanent exhibit at the Greenwich Heritage Centre.
The report says the council is already in discussion with a number of high-profile cultural organisations interested in moving into the buildings.
Museum manager Michael Leydon said: "Nothing's really been decided as yet. The council have their meeting this week and the board are still looking at future options."
But deputy leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Nigel Fletcher, who served on the board of the museum until last year, said: "It's a great shame that Firepower looks set to leave the borough.
"I have been involved with and supported the museum for many years, and repeatedly called on the council to step in to secure its future. Had they done so several years ago, we wouldn't be in this situation now.
"It became clear in recent years that without a significant investment in its future, relocation was the only viable option.
"I think it's a missed opportunity to put Firepower at the heart of the proposed new Cultural Quarter, where it could become financially sustainable.
"Sadly, the outgoing leader of the council seemed personally unsupportive of the museum and gave it only the bare minimum of help."
This is not the first time Firepower in Woolwich has faced closure. Back in 2007, the museum needed a £120,000 cash injection from the council and the Royal Artillery Regiment to keep going after running into fundraising problems.
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