ONE of Bradford's biggest visitor attractions is set to make over 20 members of staff redundant as it prepares for a £6 million radical transformation.

Works to give The National Science and Media Museum a ‘once-in-a-generation’ makeover ahead of Bradford City of Culture in 2025 are to begin this June.

Changes include two new galleries, a new passenger lift and improvements to the main entrance which will be funded through a capital project called ‘Sound and Vision’.

The development will involve the complete remodelling of two floors of the building, opening up unused spaces and reimagining the display and interpretation of the core collections.

With the museum closed to visitors for 13 months, bosses say this has led to them making some of their front-facing job roles redundant.

Initially, 30 permanent roles were identified as being at risk, however, this number has been reduced to 22 due to "active consultation".

Although it is noted that some of those individuals are still involved in the application and interview processes for new employment opportunities within the Science Museum Group. 

The redundant roles will be primarily at the lower end of the museum’s average salary rate, the museum has confirmed.

They also say they asked every employee at risk if travelling to the Group's other Northern sites, in Manchester and York, would be a possibility for them after prioritising job vacancies at those sites for them.

During the closure, the Pictureville Cinema and Bar will continue to operate, open seven days a week with an enhanced programme, as this has separate entrance arrangements and facilities.

The museum says this has allowed them to retain a significant number of front-facing staff, including the box office.

A spokesperson from the museum said: "The National Science and Media Museum is working towards a once-in-a-lifetime transformation, which will futureproof it as a venue at the heart of Bradford district for decades to come.

"In order to make essential but very disruptive parts of the project a reality, the museum is closing to visitors for a period of about 13 months from early June this year.

"During this intensive construction phase, we will not be welcoming visitors to the museum and therefore it is with deep regret that we are making some of our front-facing job roles redundant. 

"Pictureville Cinema will remain open throughout, so our public-facing work will continue there, and through extensive outreach activities in communities across Bradford.

"We are doing all we can to retain as many roles as possible and for those who sadly face the loss of their job, we have a comprehensive support package in place."

They added: "The redundancy consultation process has been thorough, with a collective consultation between Science Museum Group and Prospect, our recognised union, as well as individual consultations with each person at risk of redundancy. 

"It is deeply regrettable that our temporary closure to visitors means there is no business case to retain our full front-of-house team.

"We have considered all perspectives and taken on board representations both individually and collectively, actively welcoming constructive suggestions from affected colleagues. 

"As well as pursuing every alternative opportunity internally, we’re proactively seeking external employment opportunities for affected colleagues.

"We’re very pleased to have avoided some compulsory redundancies and will continue to work to achieve this for as many colleagues as we possibly can."

Asked if the redundancies contradict the museum’s claim that the project will produce new employment opportunities, a spokesperson added: "The redevelopment project will produce new employment opportunities in the city.

"The Sound and Vision Project is a £6 million investment and wherever possible we will be working with contractors and suppliers across the Bradford district and wider West Yorkshire region.

"As such it will generate significant economic impact and support employment across a number of areas. 

"When the museum reopens, we will be actively recruiting front-of-house staff and we anticipate welcoming unprecedented numbers of visitors during City of Culture in 2025, which will necessitate appropriate levels of support from front-facing staff."

The museum, which was initially named the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, opened in 1983 and was saved from closure following a Telegraph & Argus-led campaign in 2013.