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One in seven free tickets used by residents at SeaCity museum
JUST one in seven of the free tickets to Southamp-ton’s Titanic themed museum have been used, latest figures reveal.
The council gave away tickets to all 98,000 households in the city to visit the new SeaCity museum this year for free.
But the offer of free entry for a family of two adults and three children has only been taken up by around 13,600 households so far.
Today the Daily Echo can reveal the council is already planning new exhibitions to tempt back visitors to see something “fresh”.
The free ticket giveaway, just weeks before local elections in May which saw Labour take power from the Tories, was criticised at the time as an election bribe.
Overall visitor numbers in the five months since it opened have topped 83,000 on target for the forecasted 150,000 visitors a year.
The £15m project, shortlisted for a prestigious building award, has been funded from a £4.9m lottery grant and £500,000 from fundraising so far.
The council made up the budget gap with the proceeds of asset sales and short-term borrowing.
It had intended to find up to £5m from fundraising.
Southampton’s Grade II-listed former magistrates’ courts and police headquarters at the Civic Centre were transformed and extended into the cultural and heritage attraction.
Conservatives defended the money as well spent as it has left the city with a valuable legacy.
The Southampton Cultural Development Trust was set up to raise funds for both SeaCity and £2.1m towards the city’s forthcoming £21m arts complex.
Councillor Warwick Payne, the council’s leisure boss, said: “We are where we are. It’s been built. The question now is how do we make the best of it.
“We are already trying to think ahead of what other stories we can tell with the idea that if you come back there will be something fresh to see.”
He said an exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Southampton getting its city status in 2014 was being considered.
Other exhibitions in coming years could be based around the 600th anniversary of Agincourt, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and 50 years of production of the Ford Transit in Southampton.
Cllr Payne added there were no “active” plans to outsource the management of SeaCity after a Tory tender failed to secure an operator.