Why is MOPAC closing the Met's Heritage Centre? On my last visit there the extremely helpful staff stated that - as the Met didn't own the lease on the building where they're based and are converting the Empress State Building to a different use - they're letting the lease on the Heritage Centre's present building lapse, closing the gallery and moving the reading room halfway across London to Woolwich.
The site of the gallery will then be demolished - the current local rumour is that it will become a car-park for the Lillie Square development, despite that seeming to have completely stalled in recent years. The developer Capco is still sitting on the land, nobody with them or the Met can seem to tell me who owns the site, what its future will be or what is the rationale for closing the gallery. Speaking to fellow visitors, the gallery is a wonderful resource locally, London-wide and nationally. Even at a local level, Hammersmith and Fulham has precious few museums and can hardly afford to have fewer if it hopes to make another bid to be Borough of Culture.
I fully understand police funding is tight and that a museum cannot be a top priority. However, this is a massive backwards step, when there must be dozens of unused rooms in police buildings and even more ex-police buildings that cannot be sold on to the highest bidder as listing prevents them being redeveloped. Or perhaps the Museum of London's new site could spare them a case or three? The gallery's historical perspective on knife crime, BAME representation and so many other issues, plus its good-PR generation for the Met, are both strong reasons for its retention.