Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has reportedly been in talks over the creation of a new visitor experience to replace the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.

According to sources, Mr Gibson and the MFC Foundation – the charity arm of the club – have offered support in helping promote Captain Cook’s legacy in Middlesbrough which could see a new attraction being built within Stewart Park, Marton.

The exact details have not been released however it is thought a new building could be on site in time to celebrate the anniversary of Cook’s birth in 2028.

Mayor of Middlesbrough Chris Cooke said it was a council-led project and the local authority had been working “extensively” with Mr Gibson and the foundation.

Work was going on behind the scenes with various partners, he said, “while all options were reviewed” and he expects an announcement to be made in the next three weeks.

A controversial proposal to close the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in the park as part of Middlesbrough Council’s Budget savings was put on hold in February amid strong public opposition. Although the museum was granted a temporary reprieve, the challenge to save it as it stands still exists.

In March, Martin Peagam, chair of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum Trust, said there was a potential donor in the private sector who was “seriously interested” in putting money into the visitor attraction. The Local Democracy Reporting Service reached out to Mr Gibson who declined to comment.

In a press release, Sir Simon’s office said the campaign to save the museum had received “a major boost” following a boardroom meeting with Mr Gibson.

“When Middlesbrough Council threatened closure, I met the amazing trustees and I promised to help find a way to deliver a great new future,” he said.

“A few months ago, I had a meeting with a special man that changed everything. And this week, we took things a step further.”

He said more will be revealed next week, adding: “There’s some very exciting news on the way to celebrate and protect the legacy of Middlesbrough’s greatest son.” 

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Posting to Facebook, the Captain Cook Birthplace Trust said: “Whilst election protocols prevent us from saying much more at present, we can reveal that earlier this week a meeting took place which saw a corner turned in our efforts to find a future for the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.

“Suffice to say that a number of Trustees met with a number of prominent local people who have the interests of Middlesbrough’s heritage at heart – Chris Cooke Mayor, Simon Clarke MP, and Chairman of Middlesbrough FC Steve Gibson – and we all agreed a plan for the future. 

"The details need to be worked up but – to use a nautical analogy – we can see not only a way to rescue the ship from the reef but also the route for a long voyage into a prosperous future.”