This week, Borough of Poole Cabinet unanimously agreed to recommend to Council the approval of a Heritage Lottery Funding bid for £2.1m to undertake important conservation and improvement works at Poole Museum.
It was also recommended that the Borough of Poole’s contribution to match fund the project will come from an allocation of £50k from the council’s Capital Contingency Fund and use of up to £200k external borrowing (repaid from growth in museum income streams).
Figures from Visit England 2017 show Poole Museum is currently Dorset's most popular free attraction and the fifth most popular in the south west.
The first planned phase of the project is focused on the ground floor of the museum and the Town Cellars, which currently houses Poole History Centre. The aim is to conserve and restore the Town Cellars to their original form ‘The Kings Hall’, which was a grand wool warehouse, as well as creating a large, accessible venue for displaying important Poole maritime artefacts and an area that the community can use and enjoy.
Michael Spender, Borough of Poole Museums Manager said: “Our buildings have significant historical importance and need attention in order to conserve them. The Town Cellars are one of the most important surviving medieval port buildings in northern Europe. This will preserve our important heritage for future generations to enjoy.”
Mr Spender added: “The renovated Kings Hall will provide a fantastic historic cultural attraction and community space for Poole Quay.”
Cllr John Challinor, Cabinet portfolio holder for Culture, Borough of Poole, said: “Conserving and securing the long-term future of this wonderful medieval Grade I listed building is a key priority, whilst transforming it into a stunning large and accessible public space. The scheme will also increase the museum's display space to enable this popular and successful service to display more of Poole's heritage and attract even more visitors to the town and the quay.”
The Borough of Poole’s Heritage Lottery Funding application once approved by full council, will then be subject to two rounds.
A round one bid, for £250,000 to progress with scheme design and development, will be made in August this year. If successful, the council will then submit a round two bid of £1.9m in 2020, with the conservation and improvement works taking place over the following two years.