Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment programme on track

29 November 2012

Elected members of Aberdeen City Council have given the go-ahead for officers to submit an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund [HLF] to redevelop Aberdeen Art Gallery and create a Museums Collections Centre, today.

The unanimous decision means council officers will now submit the application for £10million of funding to the Heritage Grant programme prior to this year's deadline of 30 November 2012.

The total cost of the investment required is estimated at £33million over the next four financial years and will form a cornerstone of the council's City of Culture Bid 2017.

This total cost can be broken down into two elements, namely:

• Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment - £30million;
• Museums Collections Centre - £3million.

The level and extent of the council's financial commitment to the overall programme at this time includes:

•  a sum of £3million to be set aside from the council's non-housing capital programme [NHCP]
   in 2013/14;
•  a sum of £10million to be set aside from the NHCP for the financial period 2013-17;
•  a council guarantee to meet any shortfall in the level of fundraising up to £10million.

The Museums Collections Centre will require to be completed prior to the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery and as such will be included within the 2013/14 NHCP.

The successful completion of the Centre will then lead to the redevelopment of the art gallery. The proposed funding package being sought is:

•  Council's NHCP - £10million;
•  Heritage Lottery Fund - £10million;
•  Fundraising finance - £10million.

The exact financial profile will be reported to the Budget Committee on 07 February 2013.

It is also anticipated that the Council will raise £10million through other grant funding as well as corporate, philanthropic and personal support. This would be combined with a high-profile fundraising campaign led by the Chief Executive of Aberdeen City Council Valerie Watts.

The outcome of the Heritage Lottery Fund application will be known in April/May 2013.

Aberdeen City Council's Chief Executive Valerie Watts said: "I am delighted that the council has taken this decision today. The investment being proposed will increase access to the city's Art and Museums Collections by a third, as well as making it possible to welcome larger incoming exhibitions.

"This work will not only benefit the people living in the city but will attract visitors from the UK and abroad. It is an important step in this council's plan to maximise Aberdeen's cultural potential as we bid to be UK City of Culture 2017."

Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Barney Crockett said: "This decision highlights this council's commitment to the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery as its top cultural priority; its location is the very heart of the city's Cultural Quarter. This decision, which was unanimous, is testament to this council's determination to do all that we can for Aberdeen's bid to be UK City of Culture 2017."