Plans for a second Eureka! children’s museum on the Wirral waterfront have been submitted to Wirral Council. The proposals are for an £11.75 million world-class visitor attraction for six to 14-year-olds, with an additional area dedicated to the 0-5 years age group.
If approved, Eureka! Mersey would take over the buildings which currently house Seacombe ferry terminal and Spaceport, linked by ferry to the Liverpool waterfront. The innovative plans bring together the playful child-centred approach of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum with 21st century science and discovery centre innovation.
The proposed plans include exhibits and activities designed to boost STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) skills in local children and young people, supporting key areas of the regional growth strategy such as low carbon, advanced manufacturing, life and health sciences, digital and innovation.
The Eureka! Mersey team are currently working with schools and youth organisations from across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) to ensure that they create a unique attraction that is relevant to the region’s young people. So far, more than 120 young people have been involved 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.
Last year it was announced that Eureka! Mersey had been awarded £3 million from the government’s Inspiring Science Fund, bringing the plans closer to a 2022 opening. Working closely with partners, including Wirral Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and Merseytravel, other funding sources including Wirral Council have already been confirmed, while additional LCRCA funding is being bid for under the Strategic Investment Fund process. A range of trusts and foundations and corporate supporters are also being sought.
Wirral Council cabinet member for Culture and Tourism, Cllr Christine Spriggs, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see this project move on to another milestone.
“At the moment we have a number of developments moving apace at Wirral Waters, the Wirral Growth Company is moving ahead and will be revealing more plans soon, and across the borough we are seeing increasing development and investment in the future.
“If this receives planning permission, I am sure it will become a huge focal point for the region and beyond and add yet another attraction to bring people to find out how much Wirral has to offer.”
Eureka's chief executive, Leigh-Anne Stradeski, said: “We could not be more excited about the prospect of opening a second Eureka! in Wirral. We have engaged extensively with stakeholders across Liverpool City Region in our planning thus far, including children and young people, businesses, academia, education, community and the cultural sector, and the level of engagement, enthusiasm and support has been absolutely incredible. We are hopeful of a positive decision on planning within the next few months.”
The plans will now be formally consulted upon before being considered independently by the Council’s planning committee, with a decision expected later this year.
About Eureka! The National Children’s Museum www.eureka.org.uk
Based in Halifax, next to the main railway station, Eureka! is the UK's only national children's museum. Since it opened in 1992, Eureka! has brought smiles to the faces of more than 7.5m visitors. During that time, it has attracted £22 million of capital investment, employed more than 2500 people, won 60 local, national and international awards and changed the face of the sector by spearheading a more immersive and interactive approach to traditional museums throughout Britain. The 4500sqm building features 400 hands-on experiences over six main galleries, including the newest space, Spark gallery.
In 2017, Eureka boasted its highest visitor numbers in 20 years with 303,545 people coming through the doors, up 15,000 on the previous year. In 2017, Eureka! announced an £11.75m project in the Wirral to create a second attraction, as well as a forthcoming expansion of its Halifax site.
Eureka! is a charity which is entirely dependent on earned revenue to sustain operations and ensure families from all backgrounds can benefit from the play and learning opportunities it offers.