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Home chevron_right Latest news chevron_right Captain Cook Birthplace Museum to reopen as options explored to secure its future

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum to reopen as options explored to secure its future

Leisure and entertainment

Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke (second from left) with members of the Captain Cook Birthplace Trust Tom Mawston, Chair Martin Peagam and Rob Nichols outside the museum

A popular Middlesbrough museum will remain open as options are explored to secure its future, Middlesbrough’s Mayor has announced.

The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart Park had been earmarked for potential closure this year, as Middlesbrough Council looked to make £14m of budget savings.

A £2 daily car parking charge had also been proposed at the Marton park as the Council looked to balance its budget to deal with the impact of long-term high inflation and massive rises in the cost of delivering adult and children’s social care.

But after a town-wide public consultation with residents, Mayor Chris Cooke has announced that car parking charges will now not be introduced – while a decision on the museum will be deferred to allow the Council time to review its options.

This could include searching for a third-party provider to run the venue, reducing running costs and developing a plan to attract more visitors.

The museum will open as normal in April as further work continues.

Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke said: “Since being elected last May, I have made tough decisions to get a grip on the Council’s finances and build an organisation better equipped to deliver the high quality services the people of Middlesbrough deserve.

“But the strength of public opinion on the proposed closure of the museum, and potential car parking charges at Stewart Park, made it clear that we needed to reconsider.

“I want to thank members of the Captain Cook Birthplace Trust and Ward Councillors for their hard work in trying to find a solution, and I’m delighted we’re now in a position to reopen the museum in April.

“I’d urge the people of Middlesbrough to support the venue as we continue to work to secure its future.”

Martin Peagam, Chair of the Captain Cook Birthplace Trust, said: “The Trust recognises the importance of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, a view which is shared by many people both locally and across the globe.

“We’ve always been clear that it is vital to safeguard the museum for future generations.

“The Trust is very pleased to work with the Mayor and Middlesbrough Council to secure its future and I wish to thank everyone who has expressed support, both locally and internationally.”

Middlesbrough Council’s 2024/25 budget is set to be agreed by members of the Executive on February 28, before it is voted upon by the full council at a special meeting on March 8.

It includes savings of around £14m, while the Council is awaiting confirmation from the Government that an application for Exceptional Financial Support (EFS) has been successful.

EFS allows the council to access short-term borrowing to cover a budget shortfall of around £4.7m.

Other savings that remain in the budget include a switch to fortnightly refuse collection, while a £40 charge will be introduced for green waste collection.