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Museums oppose town hall move

PUBLISHED: 10:44 07 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:49 05 July 2010

Museum bosses in Lowestoft have hit back at suggestions they could be moved under one roof at the town hall after Waveney District Council moves out.

A big question still hangs over what will happen to the town hall after the council moves to its new £52.

Museum bosses in Lowestoft have hit back at suggestions they could be moved under one roof at the town hall after Waveney District Council moves out.

A big question still hangs over what will happen to the town hall after the council moves to its new £52.7m headquarters by Lake Lothing in 2010, and a leading councillor admitted there had been an idea to relocate four museums.

However, spokesmen for two of the museums in question have insisted a move to the High Street is out of the question.

The Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Museum, based in Sparrows Nest Gardens, is undergoing major improvement work following a £345,000 lottery grant added to the proceeds of its own fundraising efforts.

Peter Parker, chairman of the museum society, said: “We are not in favour of this at all; we are in the right part of town where the fishing industry started.

“We've got a lottery grant to go ahead with the extension and if the council want to move us out, they have to give all the money back.

“We don't want to move from this pretty location in the park, and now they are building a caravan park nearby, it will bring people and businesses to the area.”

Robert Jarvis, curator of the Sparrows Nest-based Lowestoft War Memorial Museum, also dismissed the idea and said the town hall would be better used as a tourist information centre to direct people to attractions.

He added: “I don't think it's a feasible idea at all. We are in a purpose-built wartime building… and to suggest we should move we find quite insulting. If we were to move, which we are not going to, it would take a year or longer to physically move everything.”

The other museums in question are the Royal Naval Patrol Museum, also based at Sparrows Nest, and the Lowestoft Museum at Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad.

Stephen Ardley, the district council's portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said there was no truth in suggestions that a decision about the museums' future had been made.

He added: “It is one of the possibilities that we will be looking into in the future, although the Maritime Museum has only just got a lottery grant and it would not want to move.

“Nothing will be done without a full consultation. There are no compulsory moves. It's just been said in the context that the town hall would make a nice home for the museums. I cannot emphasise enough that there has been nothing put down on paper.”

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