The future of Bath’s Fashion Museum has been thrown into doubt after it missed out on crucial funding.

Bath and North East Somerset Council had hoped that the government’s Levelling Up fund could cover more than half the cost of relocating the Fashion Museum — which was forced to leave the Assembly Rooms in October.

But there was no money for Bath when the government announced the successful levelling up bids yesterday.

The council now say they are looking for alternative ways of funding the project and are aiming for the museum to reopen in 2027 or 2028.

Local MP Wera Hobhouse said: “I was very disappointed to learn that Bath & North East Somerset Council’s bid to secure levelling up funding for our city was unsuccessful. This was the second time Bath missed out.”

The Fashion Museum has been closed since October, when it left its Assembly Rooms home of sixty years because the National Trust, who own the building, wanted to use it for their own Georgian “experience.”

Plans to move the Fashion Museum into a new location in the old post office opposite Waitrose, which is part of the wider plans to regenerate Bath’s Milsom Quarter, will cost £37m according to the council.

The West of England Combined Authority is putting £2.4m into the regeneration project but the council hoped the bulk of the funding for the new museum would be paid for by the government’s Levelling Up fund and had submitted a bid for £20m.

Reacting to news that the bid had been unsuccessful, council leader Kevin Guy said: “Whilst this is disappointing news from the government, the process of working up the Levelling Up Fund bid has demonstrated the benefits of this project to our local economy and to our communities.”

“We are convinced that it will deliver a hugely positive impact on the local visitor economy and increase cultural participation and skills-based opportunities amongst some of our most deprived communities.”

“In our Roman Baths, we have one of the most successful heritage attractions in the world. I’m wholly confident that we will be able to use our expertise to deliver the new Fashion Museum, which will be one of the most significant pieces of cultural infrastructure in the country over the next few years.”

Ms Hobhouse criticised how the allocation of Levelling Up funding had been handled by the government. She said: “I know many MPs up and down the country are aggrieved with this Government’s uneven distribution of funding.

“B&NES Council’s visionary project to revitalise the internationally significant Bath Fashion Museum and develop a new location for its fashion collection at Locksbrook in collaboration with Bath Spa University will attract more visitors and create new jobs. I know a lot of hard work went into this bid and I share my colleagues’ and constituents’ disappointment.”

“It seems curious that the South East received a disproportionate amount of money while the South West missed out. So far I have not seen any feedback as to why our bid failed.

“The council is awaiting detailed feedback from the Government so that it can work out next steps.”

John Wimperis