The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, UK has agreed a land swap deal with the local council as part of its £10m ($14m) expansion.
The land swap will be used to construct a car park as part of the plan to attract an extra 200,000 visitors a year to the Black Country Living Museum. In return, the council will receive a 6,000sqm patch of land owned by the museum close to a light rail development in the city.
Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley told the Express and Star: “We feel that this is a move that is not only beneficial for both parties, but also for Dudley as a whole.
“It will allow the museum to build a big overflow car park for all the extra people they will be bringing into the town as a result of their expansion plans.
“It also gives us in return a piece of land close by to two very exciting developments we have planned ourselves, in the shape of Very Light Rail and the Metro.
“It’s important we all work together to try and make Dudley a better place, and this is a good example of partnership in action.”
The £10m expansion will see the museum grow in size by a third and includes the creation of a 1940s-1960s era town that visitors can explore. Iconic buildings from history, such as the West Bromwich Gas Showroom and the Dudley Woodside Library will be rebuilt in the town.
Other buildings will be recreated using archival materials and images while several others will be replicated in the new town. The development also includes a new visitor centre.
The Black Country Living Museum submitted an application for planning permission in December 2017 and it is currently undergoing consultation. It is hoped that the new areas will be ready to open in 2022.
Established in 1978, Black Country Living Museum is one of the UK’s leading open-air museums. It attracted more than 300,000 visitors in 2016. Visitors can immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the past as they uncover the industrial heritage of the region.
The museum includes 10 hectares of shops, houses and industrial areas. It also features costumed demonstrators that bring to life the stories of historical people from the region.
Image: c. Black Country Living Museum.