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Tuesday, November 2, 1999 Published at 13:06 GMT


Pop museum saved

Sex Pistols: A recent exhibition spotlighted punk

The troubled National Centre for Popular Music has been saved from closure after creditors agreed to accept a rescue package.

The £15m Sheffield-based centre opened in March and had run up debts of £1.1m with 200 creditors after failing to attract the number of visitors anticipated.

But at a meeting on Tuesday, creditors accepted a modified rescue deal put forward by insolvency experts PricewaterhouseCoopers.

[ image: The centre failed to attract visitors]
The centre failed to attract visitors
The package safeguards the centre's future for the time being. It also gives new managing director Martin King time to introduce new initiatives designed to increase visitor numbers.

Creditors, who are owed anything from two pence to £200,000, met at the centre to decide whether to accept an offer of 10p for every pound owed, under an agreement drawn up by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The deal needed the support of creditors holding at least 75% of the debt for it to go through.

If it had not been accepted, the museum faced liquidation, with the loss of about 70 jobs.

The centre, financed with the help of £11m of National Lottery funding, had expected 400,000 visitors a year, but only 104,000 came through the doors in the first six months.

Sixteen of the centre's 79 jobs were axed earlier this year and a new managing director, Martin King was appointed to increase visitor numbers.

[ image: Pulp's Jarvis Cocker: Part of Sheffield's rich pop history]
Pulp's Jarvis Cocker: Part of Sheffield's rich pop history
The number of visitors expected has now been scaled down to 150,000 a year under the rescue package.

Before the meeting, Mr King said that if the deal went through, he would look at cutting admission prices and bringing more glitz to the centre by attracting big name stars.

He said: "I will be looking at all aspects of the Sheffield operation and given time and a few changes, I am confident it will be a success."

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