Museum refurb bid upped to £1million

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 August 2014

Meadow Street and High Street.

Meadow Street and High Street.

Archant

AN 'ESSENTIAL' agreement has been made by town councillors in a bid to get £1million for the refurbishment of Weston Museum.

The museum working party has been putting in continued effort to cover every aspect of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid, in the hope of gaining the cash to redevelop the Burlington Street building. Members initially wanted to attract £750,000 of funding but have now applied for £1million.

At a Weston Town Council meeting on Monday night members were told a part of this application was for the museum to have a service level agreement with another party, to provide expert support and curatorial services.

Councillors agreed the authority should renew its existing agreement with Somerset County Council, which would run out in 2016. But town council clerk Malcolm Nicholson suggested the new agreement to commence this year and run for five years, meaning the services will continue until after the reopening of the museum.

He said: “The HLF did say the town council should enter into a new agreement. We have been negotiating this but correspondence has been very slow.

“It has not been a difficult negotiation. Assuming the refurbishment happens the agreement will take us past the opening in 2016 and the costs are exactly the same.”

The renewal of the service will cost £45,000 per year and within the report to the council’s policy and finance committee it said: “Completion of the service level agreement is essential for the HLF bid and will secure continued professional services through to the reopening of the museum.”

The application needs to be completed by late-October and it is hoped the result will be returned in February.

Councillors have already agreed entry fee to the museum will be scrapped once it is refurbished and the redevelopment plans include installing a lift to the upper gallery, creating a period street-scene and adding a special exhibition gallery, which will allow touring and temporary collections to be displayed.

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