Could Royal Academy of Arts be coming to Thurrock?

THURROCK is looking to increase its investment and interest in the world’s foremost arts organisation.

Cllr Richard Speight, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, will be explaining to Wednesday (9 March) evening’s meeting of the cabinet that, following the success of the Royal Opera House’s Costume Store and Production Workshop, the Royal Academy has now expressed an interest in taking up space on High House Production Park in Purfleet.

He will tell members the Royal Academy of Arts is considering building a specialist Collection Store on the site.

The independent charity which exists without government funding, is looking to create a mix of storage, conservation and production activities in Purfleet.

The existing collection is housed in a commercial storage facility which is a viable option in the short/medium term, but does not meet the Royal Academy’s long-term aspiration for the collections to be easily accessible to the public.

Cllr Speight said: “If we are successful in attracting the Royal Academy to Thurrock – and I am confident we will – our borough will be host one some of the most prestigious and influential arts organisations in the world. That is no exaggeration, it will be fact.

“The Royal Academy collection is one of the biggest and one of the best in the world and over recent months the council has been involved in discussions with them about design and funding and on Wednesday cabinet will be asked to support that work and approve up to £7 million to be added to the capital programme for investment in the Royal Academy of Arts project.

“Details will still have to be worked out, but a lengthy lease arrangement should be able to guarantee an income for the council as well as having yet another illustrious tenant bringing status and distinction to our borough.”

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