The director of the trust funding Make’s £22.5 million museum and art gallery in Swindon has resigned – but the council has said it is still committed to the scheme
The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust said that Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker, who was made the trust’s director in March last year, resigned for personal reasons.
However, it has been reported in the local press that Ellory-van Dekker, a former head of collections at London’s Science Museum, was frustrated by a lack of progress on the project.
The proposal, designed with Arup and Danish engineers Steensen Varming, features flexible arts spaces for displaying the town’s nationally significant collection of British 20th-century modern art, which includes works by Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, L S Lowry and Graham Sutherland.
Make’s proposals were drawn up to support a £10 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid to support the project, which will form the centrepiece of Swindon’s new cultural quarter.
This week the Museums Journal reported that the council may struggle to meet the deadline for the HLF bid deadline later this year, as a result of the resignation.
However, a spokesperson from the trust told the AJ the project was still on track and the HLF bid would be submitted this autumn.
Swindon Council has said that it still hopes to deliver the scheme, despite the setback.
Councillor Garry Perkins, cabinet member for economy regeneration and skills, said: ‘I know that the trust are already building on that work and pushing the project forward. The council’s continued commitment to the museum and art gallery is fully demonstrated by our allocation of £5 million capital funding to it.’
Perkins also said that a public event held to debate the project earlier this week demonstrated that ‘there is very strong public support for the project’. According to the trust, more than 140 people attended the debate, with 130 supporting the project and its location, and seven attendees voting against it.
’I look forward to rapid progress being made to achieve our vision for the town centre over the coming months,’ Perkins added.
Following the public event, the chair of the trust Robert Hiscox, said: ‘There was considerable enthusiasm in the room for the project, as people began to appreciate what it will mean for Swindon, and many people came to us afterwards to ask what they could do to help make it happen.’
Swindon Art Gallery and Museum by Make