A BOURNEMOUTH museum with BCP Council as its sole trustee will continue to work towards independence. 

Management at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in East Cliff have said the current arrangement with the council is “out of date” and “no longer fit for purpose”. 

As reported, around £4m of work is needed to fix the Victorian Grade II* listed building which is suffering from water ingress and BCP Council cannot be the one to fund this. 

The museum was established as a charity in 1908 with the then Bournemouth Council taking up the role as sole trustee.

However, it is now trying to raise its own funds. 

But museum manager Sarah Newman said it is “impossible” for it to “flourish and perform well” with BCP as its trustee.

Bournemouth Echo: Russell Cotes museumRussell Cotes museum (Image: BCP Council)

She said: “The lack of an independent board of trustees and financial transparency makes it very difficult to raise money to support the work of the museum including maintaining this fragile and exposed Grade II* listed building and its internationally important art collections. 

“In recognition of the inadequacy of the governance arrangements, the Charity Commission invited the council to request a change of trustee and this was agreed by full council on January 10.

Read more: Bournemouth museum in need of 'significant' repairs

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided nearly £100,000 of funding to support the transition to an independent charity.” 

She said the council is working to progress the change to an independent charity, which would need to be done through Parliament. 

“However, BCP Council is also currently dealing with significant financial challenges. The committee on Monday voted to support the continuation of the progress towards a fully independent charity as the only means to ensure the sustainable future of the Russell-Cotes Museum and to request the swift agreement of a financial settlement from BCP Council with the new corporate trustee so that the change can be expedited. 

“One of the key drivers for the move to full independence is to ensure the survival of this iconic Bournemouth landmark and to ensure it can continue to delight audiences with its powerful and immersive atmosphere and eclectic collections for the next 100 years.” 

As reported, a lack of maintenance has meant the building has suffered 'significant' structural damage. 

Despite all this, the museum has enjoyed an “exceptionally good” summer, attracting more than 30,000 visitors. A rise of 14 per cent.