Saturday, January 21, 2006

Future of U-534 in the balance


January 18, 2006

The future of a collection of historic warships is hanging in the balance - so that a car park can be built.

The Warship Preservation Trust has four vessels at its museum based at Birkenhead Docks, Wirral.

It includes one of the last surviving German U-Boats and historic Falklands frigate, HMS Plymouth.

The collection is being forced to relocate because flats are being developed nearby and the land is needed for a car park.

Property developer Gregor Shore is to convert adjacent warehouses and the trust has been told there will be no room after 6 February.

The museum is set to close to the public on 5 February.

Former trust director Mike Critchley, now a consultant, confirmed that receivers are to be called in.

Last year, the trust warned that its future was in doubt because of the redevelopment.

Mr Critchley said Plymouth City Council had been approached about HMS Plymouth returning to the port where she was built in 1959.

"The maritime and heritage officer at the council knows about the situation," he said.
"The ship will be offered to the city for possible display."

The Historic Warships Collection is one of Merseyside's most popular maritime tourist attractions.

The U-Boat, which has been on display for nine years, is the only World War II German U boat recovered from the sea and one of only four left in the world.

The estimated cost of moving the collection of ships and artefacts is about £250,000.



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