IMPROVED ACCESS FOR SEAFORD MUSEUM
July 26 2013.
For years Seaford Museum's brochure has had to carry the words, "Regretfully, owing to the nature of the listed building, there is no lift or wheelchair access", but now, thanks to the generous offer of a donation of £200,000 from the Keith Baker Memorial Will Trust Charity, there is a real possibility that the Museum can be made more accessible, both to wheelchair users and to other visitors and Museum Members who are less mobile.
In addition, by the use of creative design and modern materials, the Tower, which has been without its drawbridge for over 40 years, will have its original front entrance reinstated with a new pedestrian footbridge, greatly improving the exterior appearance of the Tower. In addition, a lift will be installed within the massive walls of the Tower.
After over three years of painstaking planning and design development, only three steps remain to be cleared:
1. The consent, and a new lease, from Seaford Town Council, who are the Tower's owners.
2. Planning and Scheduled Ancient Monument consents.
3. Obtaining the outstanding funding.
The Museum Trustees understand that a report will be going to the Seaford Town Council Community Services Committee in the near future, which will hopefully result in the Council's support for the project.
Formal planning and Scheduled Ancient Monument Consent applications will also be lodged, but as a great deal of work has been done in the pre-application stage, particularly by the project's Consulting Architects, Morgan Carn Partnership of Brighton, the Trustees are optimistic that the project will receive the active support of Seaford Town Council, English Heritage and the Lewes DC Planners.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be in the region of £250,000, and a bid for the remaining £50,000 of funding is being prepared to put before the Heritage Lottery Fund. If that bid fails other sources of funding will need to be sought.
Commenting on the proposals, Kay Turvey, the Museum Chairman said: "Over the last thirty years the possibility of making the Museum accessible to people with mobility problems had seemed like a utopian dream. I am now looking forward in the hope that I will never again have to stand outside the Museum door apologising for our lack of access, or watching with deep anxiety as people struggle with the challenging stairs. Over the years we have done our best through videos, the loan of items, giving illustrated talks and responding to research enquiries on line, but nothing can replace the physical experience of a visit. The Keith Baker Trust has made the utopian dream become a real possibility."