Ryder is the architect. Credit: planning documents

Progress for regional museum projects

Stockton-on-Tees’ Preston Hall Museum will be expanded, while a shortlist for the Museum of Hartlepool’s £6m revamp has been announced.

In line with officer recommendation, Stockton’s planning committee last week rubber-stamped plans to extend the attraction at Preston Park with a new 5,300 sq ft building, the consent also covering alterations to parking arrangements and landscaping.

Ryder is the architect for the project, and in its design and access statement outlined how the extension would allow a fuller range of the museum’s own items to be displayed, as well as creating a new space for touring exhibitions and providing more facilities.

Lichfields is the planner, with the professional team also including SAJ, BGP, Ecosurb, Elliot Consultancy, Hydrock and Solmek.

The grade two-listed 19th century museum sits in 100 acres of parkland in Eaglescliffe.

As detailed in a planning officers’ report, “the proposed development would enhance the existing offer and visitor experience at Preston Park Museum by providing new space which allows the museum to display a more significant proportion of its collection and accommodate touring exhibitions.

“Whilst in an out-of-centre location, the proposed development represents the expansion of an existing established tourism development. It would not be feasible to provide the additional museum space in any other location as it would not be able to perform the same role and function in terms of enhancing the existing attraction by increasing the amount of its collection which can be on display at any one time.”

In the Local Plan, the wider site is designated as open space and forming part of a green wedge, setting out a number of criteria against which proposals in such areas should be considered. However, officers said there would be no significant harm to the character and appearance of the area.

Plans for a £6m facelift at the publicly-owned Museum of Hartlepool and Wingfield paddle steamer aren’t as far along the road, but progress has been made. A shortlist of five architecture studios has now been named, with the firms still in the running being LDN Architects, De Matos Ryan, Purcell, AOC and Donald Insall.

The project forms part of the Town Deal-backed waterfront regeneration programme that also includes the Highlight leisure centre, for which the council last month reaffirmed its financial commitment

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