Lancashire County Council has announced that detailed negotiations will continue with four organisations which have applied to take over the five museums that the council can no longer afford to fund.
The decision came after interested organisations were asked to submit detailed business plans for the future operation of the museums.
County Councillor Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “This is extremely good news for the future of these museums. There is obviously still a lot of work to do but it is very encouraging to see such robust and well-thought-through business plans.
“In an ideal world we would not have been forced into this position but as we no longer have the funding to keep these cultural resources open we can at least do a thorough job to ensure that they have a sustainable future.”
As negotiations are still under way, the county council is not naming those organisations which have applied to take over the running of the five museums, which are the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster, the Maritime Museum in Fleetwood, the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, Queen Street Mill Textile Museum in Burnley, and the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale.
Under the plans agreed today, the five museums will close to the public on 30 September 2016 while negotiations continue with the organisations which have applied to take them over. Care and maintenance plans will be put in place to ensure that they are looked after, preserved properly, and kept safe and secure. The intention is that negotiations are concluded as soon as possible with a view to the transfers being made by 31 December 2016.