May 26 2013 Latest news:
Monday, February 25, 2013
PLANS for a new storage facility to solve Saffron Walden Museum’s space shortage have finally been submitted.
The museum’s collections, along with the Museum Street building itself, are owned by the town’s museum society while Uttlesford District Council runs the service in collaboration with the group.
It has been a long-held ambition of both to improve the storage facilities for the museum collections to provide better access to the thousands of artefacts for staff and researchers.
Plans to demolish and replace the existing – but inadequate – storage unit at the council’s Newport depot had to be abandoned following consultation with the Environment Agency over potential flood risks.
The council has since conducted an extensive search of commercial units capable of being converted for museum storage use – but nothing suitable has been available.
However, now the council and museum society have applied for permission to build a new jointly-funded unit on the Shire Hill industrial estate in Saffron Walden.
A planning application for the building has been submitted which is expected to go before the council’s Planning Committee in March.
Cllr Howard Rolfe, cabinet member for Community Partnerships and Engagement, said: “We have been working for some time to resolve the museum’s storage needs.
“I am delighted that we have now found a solution that gives the service what it needs and makes its extensive collections more accessible.
“It will benefit researchers who will be able, by appointment, to study in greater depth the thousands of artefacts which form the museum’s collections.
“It will also benefit the museum staff and general public as it will be much easier to update displays in the museum.”
Tony Watson, chairman of Saffron Walden Museum Society, said: “This is a positive way forward. At long last we have a solution to the problem of the storage of museum artefacts which we have being trying to solve for over 10 years!
“We look forward to completing this project in partnership with the council this year.”