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West Berkshire Museum bids for £1.2m grant

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The major project involves restoration of the historic Cloth Hall and Corn Stores, creation of a new link building and visitor facilities, and complete refurbishment of all display and activity spaces.
During the redevelopment the museum has had to close until the spring of 2014.
The district council has allocated £815,500 in its capital programme as towards the total costs of £2.26 million. A further £200,500 has to be raised from other sources; the Headley Trust has already committed £40,000 towards the project.
Applications for planning and listed building consent for the proposed redevelopment have also been submitted. The plans have been amended in response to public consultation last autumn when over 50 written responses were submitted; in particular it is now intended to have pitched roofs on the new link building.
The museum redevelopment proposals together with the architect’s model are on display in Newbury Library until Saturday, March 31.
West Berkshire Council spokesman Keith Ulyatt said: “The council is confident that its plans for redevelopment will provide a museum that is enjoyable and inspiring for visitors of all ages, backgrounds or experience.
“The council hopes that, subject to successful funding and planning applications, all construction work will be completed during 2013. The museum is due to re-open during the spring of 2014.”
While the museum is closed a programme of temporary exhibitions is set to continue at venues across West Berkshire until the museum re-opens.
Heritage Service staff will also be running learning and education activities around the district using items from the collections. Museum staff also want to work with groups of all types across West Berkshire to plan and prepare museum activities and displays ready for re-opening.
In the meantime museum staff, supported by a team of over 50 volunteers, will be preparing the collections for future display in the refurbished museum. Around 10,000 items, weighing in total about 3.5 tonnes, have been checked, packed and moved to off-site stores ahead of the redevelopment.
West Berkshire Council has submitted its application for the HLF grant and is due to find out in June whether it will receive it.

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