Dundee wins £9.4m lottery funding to keep V&A museum project alive

Victoria & Albert's first museum out of London due to open three years late as questions persist over long-term funding

A project to build the Victoria & Albert's first museum outside London has won nearly £10m in lottery funding as fresh questions emerged about the new design collection's long-term costs.

Construction for the V&A at Dundee , an angular, sloping building jutting out over the river Tay, is due to start in August after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) gave the project £9.4m towards its £45m costs.

The museum – the first permanent home for V&A exhibitions outside London and Scotland's first dedicated design museum, is due to open in late 2016 or early 2017, nearly three years later than originally proposed.

Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish culture secretary, said the size of the lottery grant was evidence of the project's national importance. Dame Seona Reid, the HLF vice-chair and a former director of the Scottish Arts Council, said it was "fantastic news for Dundee and fantastic news for Scotland. We have an immensely rich design heritage in this country, which spans centuries, and which has and continues to have a global impact."

With the project still £13m short of its building costs, it is understood that the HLF grant was only secured earlier this week after Dundee city council agreed, during a closed meeting, to give the museum £5m towards its day-to-day running costs over 10 years.

Philip Long, the project director, confirmed on Friday that the V&A at Dundee would need £3.5m a year to cover its routine costs once it opened, partly funded by ticket receipts, retail and cafe sales. He was in "advanced talks" about securing further subsidies.

Hyslop said that the Scottish government was considering paying towards those revenue costs in addition to a £15m government payment towards the building costs and a further £1.75m given for project development.

Other subsidies are expected from the inward investment agency Scottish Enterprise and the official arts agency Creative Scotland. The V&A, however, is only expected to supply its travelling exhibitions and loans from its collection, with all the costs met by the Dundee museum.

The decision follows a recent announcement that Dundee city council is to slash £935,000 from its culture and arts spending, which supports existing institutions including the critically acclaimed Dundee Contemporary Arts centre, the McManus museum and art centre, and Dundee Rep theatre.

Long said he was very confident the HLF grant would help unlock further lottery funding for capital costs from Creative Scotland and EU grants from the European commission, worth about £6m. It has also yet to raise £8m from other private donors and foundations.

"I think that the important thing to say is that the project is on track; we will be able to start this summer on the project on the timelines we've already outlined to you," he said.


Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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