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Museum of Transport chiefs warn Maryfield Tram Depot will be disposed of ‘as soon as possible’ if plans are rejected

Vice Chairman Peter Webber speaks to the public about the plans for the museum
Vice Chairman Peter Webber speaks to the public about the plans for the museum

Bosses at Dundee Museum of Transport have warned it will be forced to dispose of Maryfield Tram Depot “as soon as possible” if ambitious new renovation plans are rejected.

The charity held the first in a series of public events at its headquarters on Wednesday night to lay out the £1.24 million proposal and hear feedback from the local community.

The plan would see most of the rear section of the building removed and its overall size reduced by almost half, although it would still remain substantially larger than the current exhibition space at Market Mews.

Work would be carried out across three stages with a structure erected on the site of the demolished section to be used as a temporary home for the museum and its contents until the project is completed in 2026.

Maryfield Tram Depot as it looks now

Bosses warned that if the new proposal is not supported by the local authority, planners and heritage building funders, the museum would be forced to get rid of the Maryfield property to avoid financial liabilities impacting on its survival.

Vice-chairman Peter Webber said he was optimistic the new approach would be more popular with funding groups but conceded he faces a “game of chicken” to convince them to pledge their financial backing.

He said: “We are pretty confident it will get approval because we’ve already had conversations with planning authorities and local organisations like the Stobswell Forum, and they are supporting what we are planning to do.

“In terms of raising the funding, we think it’s doable. It’s a vastly reduced sum of money compared with what was being looked at before and we are looking to fund that whole sum over several years.

An artist’s impression of how the site could look

“Our initial push is to get the funding for the temporary building. Beyond that, we’ve got a couple of years to fund the heritage building. If we can get it in sooner, brilliant – we can start work on it.”

The new plan comes after Trustees decided it was not possible to secure money to renovate the former tram depot in it’s current form in the wake of two failed attempts to attract funding.

The museum faces a race against time to secure a permanent home after landlords at its current premises at Market Mews decided against extending the lease beyond 2021.

Bosses believe renovation work and maintenance at Maryfield will be simpler to achieve when the museum is moved into the temporary structure and hope a committed presence at the site will make funding easier to secure.

However, local residents at the meeting raised concerns over the lack of maintenance being carried out and suggestions work may need to be postponed entirely while organisations consider funding proposals.

Ann Porter, business development manager for the museum, said it had neither the “funds or labour” to take care of overgrown vegetation at present but pledged to look again at whether “clear concerns” on the matter could be addressed going forward.

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