June 16, 2024
Art Gallery

Leicester’s New Walk Museum set for new café, shop and galleries


Leicester Museum and Art Gallery looks set for a new café as part of an ongoing programme of improvements at the venue. The coffee shop would be located at the front of the New Walk attraction if approved, making it more accessible not just for those visiting the museum but those passing by as well, city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said.

The museum, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, did previously have a café, but this was located at the back of the building and closed some years ago. The old cafe space could become a new attraction, showcasing the “Story of Leicester”, council documents show.




Leicester City Council, which runs the venue, said it was also looking to create new art gallery displays, and a new shop and reception area, in this latest round of improvements. “Essential maintenance work” will also be carried out, including roof repairs, council documents show.

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A planning application for the changes is expected to be submitted shortly, with work expected to start in November. The council said it hoped the new art gallery spaces and café would open to the public a year later, with the reception and shop following in 2026.

An additional phase of work is also proposed, but that would be subject to grant funding, the documents add. If the required funding is received, new galleries covering “social history” and “the environment” would be created, improvements would be made to the museum’s learning spaces and the first floor would be expanded. The funding bid is expected to be submitted in August.

However, some on the council have raised concerns about the cost of the scheme at a time when the council is facing the risk of bankruptcy. Opposition councillors Nigel Porter, Patrick Kitterick, Hemant Rae Bhatia, Scott Kennedy-Lount, Shital Adatia and Abdul Osman have “called in” the plan so it can be scrutinised.

They said in a joint statement: “Despite the council being in a truly diabolical financial state, the Labour leadership still appears determined to waste millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash on ill-conceived vanity projects. Most sensible people would agree with us when we say that a new council café is not a priority, especially as the council is on the brink of bankruptcy and cannot even afford to support the adventure playgrounds or Send transport.



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