Museum gears up for a £1.5m Lottery grant

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Leyland’s British Commercial Vehicle Museum has hit the road to a whopping £1.5 million windfall.

The attraction is line for the huge Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for an exciting refurbishment project.

Dubbed Up Another Gear, the scheme has been awarded £94,500 up front to help develop the project - with the rest of the money earmarked to be released at a later date, subject to a further application.

The British Commercial Vehicle Museum Trust sought a ‘first round’ pass, including development funding for a project to refurbish the King Street museum building and reinterpret and redisplay its collections, charting the story of the development of British commercial vehicles since the 1900s.

The scheme would create improved visitor facilities, including shop and toilets, and create a multi-purpose space suitable for dining and activities, equipped with a café-bar and projection area.

A volunteering and activity programme would also be delivered.

This was a resubmission of an application rejected by the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for the North West in December, 2014, in light of the available budget.

The committee considered that the scheme represented a high priority for support and awarded a first round pass of £1,682,500, including a development grant of £94,500 - 87 per cent of total eligible development costs.

Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds.

A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding.

It may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project.

Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “Commercial motor vehicles are a vital part of the identity of this area and the museum plays a crucial role in keeping this legacy alive.

“We are pleased to offer this National Lottery support to help the museum develop for the future and tell this story to many more people.

“We look forward to seeing how the plans progress.”

Founded in 1983, the museum, which is a registered charity overseen by a board of trustees, was part of the huge Leyland Motors factory in the 1930s.

It is dedicated to preserving the history of the road transport industry in the UK.

Its exhibits, which include historic commercial vehicles and buses spanning a century of truck and bus building, and archives contain not just examples of the vehicles themselves, but evidence of their interaction with a century of daily life.

On display are more than 60 vehicles.

It is said to be one of the country’s most important heritage collections.