Heritage Centre to make job cuts after slow start

Palace House aerial view
Palace House aerial view

Nine months after it was opened by the Queen, Newmarket’s National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art is being forced to look at making redundancies as predicted visitor numbers have not materialised.

Opened in November last year, the centre which is based at the former Palace House racing yard and neighbouring Palace House Mansion, confirmed yesterday that it was embarking on a cost cutting programme that would involve ‘a small reduction in staff numbers’. It said this was necessary because of lower than anticipated revenues.

In a statement, the centre said: “The National Heritage Centre is undertaking this measure reluctantly. However, action is necessary to ensure that the museum protects the visitor experience while avoiding any financial difficulties.”

Since the centre opened, it has attracted over 23,000 visitors, nearly double the number achieved at the former National Horseracing Museum, the High Street attraction which its replaced. However, according to the statement, footfall through the new centre has not been growing as rapidly as was forecast. The statement continued: “The trustees remain confident that the museum will achieve its projected annual visitor numbers, based on expert advice and independent research, but it will take longer to reach the target.

Earlier this year, the centre narrowly missed out on the prestigious Museum of the Year award, and has a Certificate of Excellence from influential Trip Advisor.

“The management team remain convinced that the visitor experience is of the highest quality,” added the statement.