Ipswich Museum works given full support by borough council despite £2.7m extra costs
Ipswich Museum works have been given full support by leaders despite £2.7 million in unexpected costs.
Members of Ipswich’s executive met on Tuesday to discuss the future of the museum’s redevelopment after it was revealed the project was expected to cost a total of £11.4 million – around £2.7 million more than initially predicted.
The museum has been closed to the public since October 2022 to allow for extensive renovations and expansions, including new exhibits, additional lifts and a new coffee shop.
During the meeting, councillors from different political colours expressed their support in ensuring the project was delivered in full.
Cllr Carole Jones, portfolio holder for planning and museums, said the council had done its best to keep costs low but inflation had spiralled costs.
She added: “There are improvements that we need to make and this is not an extravagant scheme.
“We have an empty museum, we are going to have to put things back there and do the work we have set ourselves to do — we are where we are here, and we can only go forward.”
Members unanimously decided to apply for a second round of money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) which already takes up half of the project’s bill, for just over £1.36 million.
According to the council report, representatives of the NLHF indicated they would consider a formal application if the council picked up the remaining half of the bill.
However, the application is not guaranteed to be a success and, if so, it would lead to the project being halted altogether for a complete review, delaying it for at least 18 more months.
Cllr Ian Fisher added: “It’s really hard to see what other option we have because we are so far down this road now. If we don’t vote for it we get something that’s not going to be anywhere near what we wanted.”
The next opportunity for a further funding application is later this month, February 22, with a decision expected by the end of June.