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Redevelopment of Guildford Museum “complex” and “challenging”

Redevelopment of Guildford Museum “complex” and “challenging”

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Rebecca Curley at 10:58am 12th February 2019.

Changes to lottery funding criteria could help move the Guildford Museum redevelopment project along, according to council papers.

A report updating the work of a feasibility study and plans to link the museum in Quarry Street and Castle Grounds into one heritage hub will be presented to councillors next week.

Regeneration of the museum is proving “complex” and “challenging” due to planning conservation of the listed buildings, the report states.

But officers say they now have a “much clearer understanding” of what they can deliver and develop for the town.

The Guildford Museum development project progress report will be presented to members of Guildford Borough Council’s place making and innovation executive advisory board on Monday (18 February).

The council has earmarked “substantial funding” to plan and deliver the new museum.

The Executive approved the release of £240,000 in 2016 to fund the new build extension work.

But the report also states it will need to seek additional cash from grants including applying to the National Lottery Heritage Fund which officers say now has a “simpler and more flexible funding offer”.

A timeline set out for a fundraising strategy should the council decide to apply for heritage funding says it will need to submit an expression of interest in May.

The council has also not ruled out creating a fundraising trust.

Visitor numbers to the museum have been falling over the years from 17,689 in 2006/7 to 9,463 in 2016/17.

And feedback from consultation with the public found that many were not aware Guildford had a museum and when they were taken round found it “old fashioned, dull and not interactive enough”.

It is hoped the new museum will contribute a further £1.4 million per year to the Guildford economy and create 18.5 jobs.

Councillors will discuss the report and consider if the project is progressing in the right direction at their meeting on Monday.

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