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GBC Approve First Step For Museum Revamp Project

Published on: 2 Mar, 2012
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2012

The plan incorporates an entrance to the museum via the Castle Grounds.

An application for Lottery Heritage Fund money to help pay for a multi-million pound revamp of Guildford Museum was approved by the Executive of Guildford Borough Council this evening.

A radical new plan would create a new, easy access, main entrance to the museum direct from the Castle Grounds, incorporating parts of the ruined royal palace used by Plantagenet kings. As well as improved display areas and learning facilities a new gift shop and coffee shop would be included in the scheme.

Jenny Powell, lead councillor for culture and leisure, said: “Our heritage in Guildford is our ‘unique selling point’. The museum has had very little investment since the 1960s. The scheme would be beneficial for tourism in the town and its businesses. Some studies have shown that for each £1 million invested a return of over £4 million for the local economy can be gained. The plans have been shown to different organisations including The Guildford Society and have been very well received.”

The funding application will be made in several stages. If successful at the first stage and the scheme considered suitable a further two years will be spent developing the plans and application. Cllr Powell stressed that if the application were to succeed full commitment of the council would be essential.

Cllrs Phillips, Reeves and Hooper all spoke in support of the proposal. Tony Phillips (Lib Dem, Onslow) said that it was an exciting project and something that the council had failed to progress in recent years. Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) said that if the town wanted to develop the use of its heritage this was a very important part of any plan. Cllr Phillip Hooper (Con, Holy Trinity) said that he was very excited by the proposal and hoped that the necessary funding could be obtained.

Cllr David Wright, (Con, Tillingbourne) lead councillor for finance and resources on the Executive, pointed out that the proposal represented a sea change in the level of investment required and a good business case would be required. Questions regarding the ability to increase visitor numbers sufficiently and the viability of the cafe and shop would need to be addressed.

Cllr Powell responded by saying: “We will have to work extremely hard at fundraising.” Surrey Archeological Society, who also occupy the museum premises, were, she said, expected to make a significant contribution and the Friends of the Museum would be helping too.

“It will not be easy, we will have to work very hard but it is amazing once you talk to people how supportive they are,” she added.

Tony Rooth, (Con, Pilgrims) Executive Leader, commented as he summed up: “The castle and museum is something we would like to see improved for all those who work, live and play here.”

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Responses to GBC Approve First Step For Museum Revamp Project

  1. Clair Keyman

    March 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Very good stuff.