National Children’s Museum Eureka! has moved a step closer to opening in Wirral after it was approved by planners.
The £11.75 million museum is set to take over the existing Spaceport building at Seacombe Ferry Terminal and is expected to attract almost 200,000 visitors a year.
The proposals approved by Wirral Council planning department are for a world-class visitor attraction for six to 14-year-olds, with an additional area dedicated to the 0-5 years age group. As well as contributing to the local economy and creating more than 90 jobs, Eureka! Mersey will be focused on children and families and will address a gap in the current offer around science.
Eureka! has used a unique “co-creation” process, bringing local young people together with industry and expert partners to agree the stories and activities that will feature in Eureka! Mersey.
More than 120 young people have been involved so far in designing exhibition content, working in partnership with key LCR businesses including Ørsted, Unilever, Sci-tech Daresbury and Arup as well as Liverpool John Moores University.
The museum is being developed by Eureka! in partnership with Merseytravel, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Wirral Council.
Funding for the museum has come from a number of charitable foundations as well as the Inspiring Science Fund (Wellcome Trust and BEIS), the Combined Authority and Wirral Council.
Wirral Council leader, Cllr Pat Hackett, said: “This is fantastic news and it’s exciting to see Eureka! Mersey move another step closer to arriving here in Wirral where it will join the many other exciting developments at nearby Wirral Waters, which are also moving on apace.
“This museum will provide a world class attraction and play an important part in the continuing development of the local economy – both in attracting many thousands of new visitors to the area and inspiring future generations to take an interest in those science and technical subjects which are playing an increasingly important role as they move towards their future careers.
“I want to thank all our partners for working so hard to make this happen and helping to bring such an innovative attraction to the region.”
Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “We approved a £6.4m grant in July to help bring Eureka! to the banks of the Mersey because we recognised what a fantastic addition it will be to our city region and its world-class museums. Eureka!’s focus on STEM subjects will spark children’s interest in these essential areas, and their collaborative work with local businesses and community groups ties in perfectly with our city region’s growth sectors.”
Eureka's chief executive, Leigh-Anne Stradeski, said: “We’re delighted to receive the planning approval to bring Eureka! to the iconic buildings at Seacombe ferry terminal and this is without doubt, a major step forward. Our co-creation work with local children and young people has been central to designing all aspects of the experience, and will create something unique to Wirral, the Liverpool City Region and the wider North West, a truly transformational project rooted in the broader community. The support and encouragement we’ve received from all our partners in the City region has been incredible.”
The museum is expected to open in 2022.