The final steps to complete the transfer of Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience to the National Museum of the Royal Navy are set to be agreed today.
The national operator is set to take over the running of Hartlepool’s top tourist attraction from Hartlepool Borough Council from June as part of a plan to boost visitor numbers, improve the choice and make more money.
Councillors on the Finance and Policy Committee are asked to approve a number of recommendations to allow the deal to be completed and the transfer to go ahead.
It includes the council leasing Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience to the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) for 35 years.
A report by Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, states: “This partnership arrangement represents both an exciting opportunity for the museum and the town and the best way forward for the facility given the financial climate in which the council has to operate.
“NMRN is a major operator of visitor attractions and is able to access expertise, funding and exhibits that would not easily be available to the council.”
The transfer would mean Hartlepool becomes the Royal Navy Museum’s northern base. The aim is to make the area a must see destination with plans to extend the exhibitions to tell wider the story of the Royal Navy in the North East.
Ms Ogden report adds: “Objects including aircraft and artillery are intended to be brought to the site together with special exhibitions, events and re-enactments to bring the site to life.”
The council says the transfer fits in with its plans to develop the waterfront area as part of the Hartlepool Regeneration Masterplan.
It says the maritime experience at the moment is only a half-day visit and does not encourage visitors to go back, limiting its money-making potential.
Ms Ogden added: “The mix of permanent and temporary exhibits will encourage repeat visits from both tourists and local residents.
“Once the NMRN Hartlepool is fully integrated into HME this will open up a number of new development and investment opportunities particularly for Jacksons Landing which has been identified for a landmark development opportunity.”
The NMRN also operates naval museums at Portsmouth, Gosport, Belfast and Yeovilton.