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Gallery appeals to firms to back £10m expansion plan

It wants to create a “cultural, social and educational centre in the centre of Milton Keynes”, to include more exhibition space, education facilities, a cafe and an independent cinema.


As the population of Milton Keynes grows towards 300,000, the Gallery aims to double its current annual visitor numbers to 60,000 and create a contemporary art reputation worthy of a city of its size.


Clare Wood, the Gallery’s head of development, said: “In equivalent places in the UK, the contemporary arts infrastructure is bigger and wider-ranging. Milton Keynes deserves something bigger and better.”

Many businesses have chosen the Gallery to host corporate events over the years.


It also wants to highlight the sponsorship opportunities it can offer to local firms and is asking companies to consider the Gallery – which opened in 1999 and now has a reputation among the leading galleries in the UK – when they decide on their charity of the year.


“We need to tell businesses about the tangible benefits that we can create for them,” said Clare.

More than £7 million needed for the project will come from public sector bodies. The Gallery expects to appoint architects imminently.


A feasibility study has given its ideas the green light and, after community consultation, the Gallery expects to apply for planning permission next summer.


If approved, it aims to open its extended premises in 2017, to coincide with Milton Keynes’ 50th anniversary.


Increasing the exhibition space will allow the Gallery to stage “blockbuster shows” by some of the most famous artists.


“We want to create a cultural, social and educational centre in the centre of Milton Keynes,” said Clare. “It is more than a contemporary art gallery – it is a place where people can come and interact, a ‘living room for the city’ that people can make their own.”