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Blow for Mary Rose as Lottery cash bid is rejected

Wilkinson Eyre's Mary Rose project has been dealt a massive blow after losing out in its bid to secure cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

In a statement, the double Stirling Prize-winning practice said it was frustrated that its client, The Mary RoseTrust, failed to bag the £13.5 million in lottery money.

'We are extremely disappointed that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided not to support the Mary RoseTrust's application,' the statement says. 'If anything should be regarded as part of our national heritage, it is the Mary Rose.

'We are heartened, however, by the trust's determination to proceed with giving the ship a permanent home in which to preserve it for all time.'

The HLF turned down the bid because it did not consider the project was currently in a position to deliver 'a world-class museum'.

Dame Liz Forgan, of the HLF, said: 'the Mary Roseis one of the most important pieces of our nation's heritage. The trust rightly considers that such a treasure deserves a truly world-class museum to tell the story effectively. Unfortunately, the project as it currently stands is not yet considered capable of delivering that vision.'

The Mary RoseTrust has previously been looked upon favourably by the HLF, receiving nine grants to the tune of more than £5.6 million.

It now remains to be seen whether Wilkinson Eyre - which picked up its awards for Newcastle's 'winking eye' bridge and the Magna museum in Rotherham - will continue with the project.

by Richard Vaughan

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