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A two-storey extension, cafe, toilets and car park improvements form exciting Council plans for Preston Park Museum and Grounds

29 June 2023
Computer generated imagery which captures early visions of the Preston Park museum extension, café and aviary

Computer generated imagery which captures early visions of the Preston Park museum extension, café and aviary

Ambitious Council plans have been unveiled which will see Preston Park Museum transformed into a modern, innovative and inspiring visitor experience with improved facilities throughout the park.

The series of improvements will include:

  • a bold and modern extension to the existing museum, creating a large, flexible exhibition space and visible collection stores
  • park café and toilet refurbishments with the addition of a Changing Places toilet
  • retaining and repurposing the aviary structure
  • car parking extension and upgrades to the main entrance
  • overall improvements to landscaping, paths, lighting and signage
  • showcasing the important story of the Stockton & Darlington Railway close to the original 1825 track-bed

The investment at the popular visitor attraction in Eaglescliffe will provide significant benefits to the region by improving access to culture and heritage for people across the Tees Valley, as well as boosting tourism in the local area.

The transformation of Preston Park Museum and Grounds is being funded after the Council secured £20million for improvements to Yarm and Eaglescliffe from the Levelling Up Fund as part of the Stockton South Constituency.

The new two-storey extension will be a state-of-the-art building to the west of the existing museum building and will create stores that are open and visible for the public to explore.

It will also include a flexible exhibition space on the first floor, four times larger than previous spaces. This will provide an opportunity to bring nationally significant touring exhibitions to the region for the first time.

The multi-use exhibition space will also provide opportunities for the museum to display more of its collections, including community-curated displays.

A terrace space will connect the new museum building with the orchard and walled garden and also link with existing paths to increase connectivity to the park.

A planning application containing details of the new extension will be submitted on Monday 3 July.

Councillor Steve Nelson, Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: "This development will provide more opportunities for families to come together to play, learn and explore the history of the local area.

"The museum plays an important role in telling stories about our heritage. The new extension will allow it to open its collection like never before, showing a large number of objects that have been previously stored away from the public.

"This is such an exciting time for Preston Park Museum and Grounds. These improvements will bring significant benefits to the Borough and allow this fantastic attraction to continue inspiring people for many years to come."

The wider park will also be improved, including the café and toilets to create new and accessible visitor facilities.

A new outdoor café seating area will be created, overlooking the play area and its lawn will be extended to increase the picnic area.

Improvements to the main visitor car park and overflow car park will also create a more welcoming environment and more parking spaces.

The distinctive aviary structure will remain but will be repurposed to provide a quiet and attractive landscaped area with views across the River Tees.

The park will also include new information and interpretation features to mark the important story of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

Further details of the wider park improvements will be included in further planning applications in the summer.

Find out more about the plans for Preston Park Museum and Grounds.