Following a successful first round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2010 the Council appointed Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams Ltd (BFAW) as architects for the Museum redevelopment project and to prepare plans for the major repair and conservation programme.
BFAW have extensive experience of historic buildings and museum projects. Also part of the project team is Houghton Kneale Design Ltd (HKD) who are responsible for the design of exhibition, display, interpretative and learning content.
The redevelopment proposals include restoration of the historic Cloth Hall (Grade I) and Corn Stores (Grade II*) and replacement of the 1934 link building with a new entrance and access hub.
Aims of the Redevelopment
The Museum needs redeveloping to make it fit for the needs of users and visitors and to deal with problems that have developed over time. We need to:
- Carry out substantial repairs to the historic fabric of the historic Grade I Cloth Hall and Grade II* Corn Stores at the Wharf
- Deal with health and safety issues including fire safety
- Enable all visitors to have full access to all parts of the Museum
- Create displays, exhibitions and interpretative materials that meet the needs of all visitors
- Display more of the Museum's collections
- Provide facilities for formal and informal learning and education
- Improve and increase visitor services and facilities, eg reception, shop, refreshments, toilets. It is also intended to create a new entrance and access hub, replacing a 20th century link building
The theme for the Museum is creating a Sense of Place; this means working with communities to understand what West Berkshire has been, is now and might be in the future.
The capital costs will be met by a combination of Council funding and external sources, including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Heritage Lottery FundThe HLF made a Round One grant of £84,500 during 2010 towards development costs, eg architect's fees. It is hoped to submit a Round Two application to the HLF for around £990,000 by March 2012.
The HLF also made a grant of £40,000 in 2008 towards the cost of producing initial feasibility studies and plans.
The Council expects to make grant applications for around £250,000 to funding bodies and the commercial sector. The Headley Trust has already pledged £40,000 towards the project (subject to HLF funding).
The Council will consult widely on its proposals for redeveloping the Museum; ideas and comments will be very welcome. The design team is now considering responses to the architect's initial plans and proposals.
Subject to securing other external funding and acceptable design proposals, the redeveloped Museum could re-open to the public by early 2014