Thanet council plans museum handover

Campaigners are calling on Thanet District Council to halt its plans to sell Margate Museum, with more than 100 people have signed a petition to keep the heritage building, once a police station, in public hands.

Main image shows Margate Museum, centre, next to the Old Town Hall. Courtesy Thanet District Council

The move follows the council decision to ask other organisations to take over the heritage site as the buildings are too expensive to repair. It asks bidders to submit their proposals early next spring for the  building, as well as Dickens House in Broadstairs and Tudor House, also in Margate. The museum will need investment of £911,400, while £215,250 will be needed for Tudor House and £210,450 for Dickens House.

Figures show that Dickens House makes an annual profit of around £2,160 but Margate Museum and Town Hall cost £18,000 per year and Tudor House costs around £5,940 per annum. “Without significant investment, it is likely that the premises will be closed in the medium term. This is not a desirable outcome for anyone” council officers said.

The Tudor House, courtesy Thanet District Council

The Margate Museums Trust is expected to put in a bid to take over the museum and the Tudor House, but local resident Brian Smith-Stewart said the council should consider other ways to find the money to keep the museum open.

"Margate is up and coming" he said. "Visitor numbers have gone up and the volunteers there are doing a fantastic job, and perhaps money can be found in other ways.”

Margate Museums Trust said: “We have a vision for both Margate Museum and the Tudor House and we will be putting forward an expression of interest. We want to continue running both sites and have a really good team of people with good knowledge. We want to keep them going as they are but also develop them. As a charity we have the option of getting access to funding and grants such as from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund.”

 

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