Fareham Borough Council has approved £665,000 plans to transform Westbury Manor Museum, Fareham, into a vibrant new 'culture stop'.
The investment includes £448,000 of funding from Fareham Borough Council and £217,000 from Hampshire Cultural Trust.
Westbury Manor Museum is a community museum that tells the story of Fareham's local history. As part of the project the current exhibitions will be modernised so that there is a mix of interactive exhibits and digital media. The reception area, café and shop will be improved, and there will be a community space available for private hire.
The second floor will be converted into creative studios suitable for a local start up business with a cultural theme. Outside the railings around the front courtyard will be removed to make the museum more open and welcoming and both the front and garden entrances will be remodelled.
Councillor Sue Bell, Executive Member for Leisure and Community at Fareham Borough Council, said: "This is a really exciting project which will see Westbury Manor Museum completely transformed. While there are already some interesting exhibits there, with this investment, Westbury Manor will become a dynamic modern venue appealing to even more visitors and meeting the needs of the future. This will benefit not only the museum, but Fareham Town Centre as a whole."
Janet Owen, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: "Hampshire Cultural Trust is delighted that Fareham Borough Council have given the go ahead for the exciting plans to re-model the Westbury Manor Museum. With this development we will be able to provide a vibrant 'culture stop', with pop-up exhibitions and events and an enhanced café and shop.
We are looking forward to working with Fareham Borough Council, our partners and the people of Fareham, on this unique opportunity to transform one of the key facilities in Fareham to create an exciting cultural heritage attraction which will re-energise the visitor experience to the museum and give a focal point for the town centre."
The Council would enter into a 10 year management agreement with Hampshire Cultural Trust, including a lease for the building. After taking account of the cost of capital, the saving to the Council over the 10 year agreement would be £396,000.
It is anticipated that work would start in January 2017. The construction work is estimated to take four months to complete and therefore it is expected that the new facility will open in May 2017.
Notes to editors
The feasibility study undertaken by Hampshire County Council Architects has identified a total capital cost of £665,000 to undertake the works required. This figure is subject to a competitive tender.
Hampshire Cultural Trust will provide £217,000 towards the cost. This includes £100,000 grant funding for equipping the first floor exhibition space. A grant of £50,000 towards the cost of the Café facilities and £67,000 in kind support from Hampshire County Council Architects.
Two sources of funding have been identified to provide the £448,000 balance of funding from Fareham Borough Council.
Fareham Borough Council holds £285,000 in the Charity of Miss Winifred Nellie Cox. The bequest is for the funding of the Charity to be used either for a museum or for a public garden. It is proposed that the bequest is used to fund the works to re-model the Westbury Manor Museum.
This leaves a balance of £163,000 and it is proposed that this is funded from Fareham Borough Council's capital reserves.
An additional sum of up to £35,000 has been identified in the Town Centre Innovation Fund. This funding was provided to improve and enhance the town centre infrastructure. This will be used to create a sense of place in the Westbury Manor frontage with the creative use of contemporary street furniture, paving and landscaping.
For further information contact:
Lorna Tipper, PR and Marketing Officer, Tel: 01329 824302
fax: 01329 550576, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This and previous media releases can be viewed on the Council's website: www.fareham.gov.uk/pressreleases
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