Future of the Former Beecroft Art Gallery building, Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

The Beecroft Art Trust will be carrying out consultation on the future of the former gallery building, Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, with the help of its sole Trustees; the Council. The consultation will run from 29th June 2015 – 20th September 2015.

The Foundation for the Beecroft Art Gallery and collection was set up in 1949 by Walter Beecroft for the “promotion of the study of art, music and literature and in particular the provision and maintenance of the Beecroft Art Gallery at Southend-on-Sea as a public art gallery and library.”

The Station Road building was purchased in 1951 and was opened as the Beecroft Art Gallery in October 1953. As a former Edwardian Hotel, the building always intended as a temporary home for the collection, which has now been transferred in its entirety to the re-located Gallery. The former gallery building has been empty since September 2013 and is in poor structural condition. The Trust must now consider the future for this empty building.

By virtue of a Charity Commission Scheme dated the 18th February 1980 the Council is sole trustee of the endowment consisting of the Gallery building, the Beecroft collection itself and additional funds held for the benefit of the Charity. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has operated both the trust and gallery as part of its Museum Service since this date.

The former gallery building in Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea has been suffering from major structural issues for some time and a decision was taken to relocate the Gallery to former library building in Victoria Avenue. The re-located Gallery opened to the public in August 2014 and has been well received by visitors, who are now able to access more of the collection.

It is now time for the Trustees to consider and consult on the future of the original gallery building in Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea which remains empty. The trustees (Southend –on-Sea Borough Council) are legally bound by the requirements of the Charity Act 2011. As sole Trustee, the Council is duty bound to ensure that value received from the use or disposal of the land / building at Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea is the “best that can be reasonably obtained”.

It is important to note that any proceeds of sale will be a permanent endowment for the Trust and the income received from the proceeds of sale (e.g. through investment) must be used to further the objects of the Trust.

The consultation is being run by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council on behalf of the Beecroft Trust and can be accessed using our link 

Page last updated: 29/06/2015