Whitby's Pannett Art Gallery extension a step closer to reality

A new extension to Whitby’s Pannett Art Gallery is a step closer to reality.
Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby.Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby.
Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby.

Scarborough Borough Council (SBC)’s cabinet portfolio holder Cllr Steve Siddons has approved development funding of £131,107 for feasibility into the extension of the Pannett Art Gallery project, to be funded from the Towns Fund programme contingency budget.

Future development of the gallery could see:

* providing facilities for educational activities and study

* space to enable the loan and display of works from national collections

* an art trail

* an orangery-style cafe / restaurant

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Whitby Town Council clerk Michael King explained that the project is the one which originally formed part of the Town Deal programme, but which didn’t proceed when the funding awarded, of £17.1m, fell below the £25m originally on offer.

The proposal before Scarborough’s cabinet was for SBC to use its Town Deal development capital fund to enable the town council to progress the business case for the extension project.

That development funding would enable Whitby Town Council to describe and quantify what the project would be beyond the outline originally submitted in October 2020.

“Developing the Pannett proposal would enable us to act as a potential contingency submission to government if any of the current Town Deal projects failed to progress,” said Mr King.

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“It would also prepare us to apply for future streams of funding from central government or from other funding bodies,” he said.

In the Whitby Town Deal prospectus, the gallery extension was costed at £4.85m.

Cllr Linda Wild, Mayor of Whitby, said of the funding: “We’re delighted that Scarborough Borough Council is working with us to develop our plans to extend the Pannett Art Gallery.

“It was a popular project with the Whitby Town Deal Board, which only dropped off the list when the funding offered by government fell from £25m to £17.1m.

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“We all hope that we can find alternative sources of grant funding to expand the art and artists on show and to honour the original vision of Alderman Pannett when he gifted the Gallery, Park and Museum to the people of Whitby 100 years ago.”

The project aims to provide additional facilities and floorspace at Pannett Art Gallery.

The prospectus adds: “Extending the Pannett Art Gallery will involve improving display provision, providing facilities for educational activities and study, and establishing a Government Indemnity Scheme approved space to enable the loan and display of works from national collections.

“An art trail from the town up to the park is also proposed that will reference art displayed in the gallery and artists with a Whitby association, guiding people to the area which is not currently felt to be a clear destination within the town.

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“An orangery style cafe/restaurant is also included in the plans as a means of providing visitors with facilities for lunch, and for dining in the evenings with potential to host events and exhibitions.

The project is also expected to establish an education programme for residents, raising the profile of our local heritage and contributing to the longer-term sustainability of the gallery and the museum.”