Maryport Maritime Museum is likely to close following the discovery of a fire risk. Allerdale council’s building control team says the fire escape route is unusable because of access restrictions to the rear of the building, and that a corridor would have to be built between the ground floor stairs and the front door.

The setback was announced less than two months before the voluntary Maritime Heritage Group was due to take over the museum from Maryport Festivals.

The risk was discovered during Allerdale council’s £22,000 renovation of the building in October. But the heritage group claims it is an excuse to force closure of the building, saying that the council, which is pulling funding from the museum to save money, was never really behind it.

Group spokesman Joe Kewin said: “How can Allerdale spend in excess of £20,000 to renovate the museum, continue to ask us to upgrade our business plan and then, at the 11th hour, tell us that the museum can’t open because of a fire risk?

“Surely this was considered by architects and surveyors when they spent a considerable amount of public money”

An Allerdale council spokesman said: “The improvement works needed to be carried out to keep the building in good order. The findings of the fire risk are not an excuse but a legal requirement.”

Article first published by at 11:26, Friday, 12 February 201 by

Last updated at 20:03, Thursday, 01 April 2010

Maryport Maritime Museum has been saved from closure.

Allerdale council, which owns the building, has struck a deal for the Maryport Maritime Heritage Group to take over the running of the museum from Maryport Festivals Ltd.

Joe Kewin, spokesman for the Maryport Maritime Heritage Group, said: “We are delighted that Allerdale Borough Council has offered us the Maritime Museum under licence with their full support. We are most grateful for the support shown by the people of Maryport.

“We now need to organise the necessary administrative details such as insurances and working procedures before we can formally run the museum, so we anticipate opening around the end of May.

“This means that the museum will temporarily close for two months but people can be safe in the knowledge that when it re-opens it will be in the hands of local enthusiasts who have the funds to ensure it gets off to a good start.”

The Maritime Heritage Group will take care of the museum and its collection on an initial three-month licence with the intention to renew it on a yearly basis.

First published at 11:30, Thursday, 01 April 2010
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