Gravesend museum talks follow failed regeneration bid

Gravesend protesters
Image caption Hundreds of campaigners opposed the £120m Heritage Quarter regeneration plans

Plans for a museum in Gravesend will be considered after a £120m regeneration scheme was turned down.

A report on the museum plan for the north Kent town originally said the costs of the building could be paid for as part of a regeneration development.

The cabinet is now considering the plan in the light of the failed £120m bid for Gravesend's Heritage Quarter.

After the bid failed, council leader Mike Snelling said there was "a shadow of uncertainty" over the town.

The cabinet was considering on Monday "an ambitious blueprint" for a permanent museum and visitor centre, which would include the town's tourist information centre and current history collections.

Councillor Mike Snelling said: "This is an excellent and exciting report with tremendous possibilities for promoting Gravesham's rich heritage as a tourist and visitor destination."

Lottery bid

A museum experts' study, commissioned in February and finished in May, said the town currently had no suitable existing building and suggested capital costs could be met by including it in a major redevelopment scheme.

The report suggested the council could then have sought £1m lottery cash to contribute to the £1.5m needed to furnish and equip the museum.

But the report was written before the council's regulatory board turned down the application from the developers, Edinburgh House, for major regeneration of the town centre.

Councillors rejected the regeneration bid in August after arguing the scheme for retail and housing was too large and not in keeping with existing architecture. Hundreds of campaigners had opposed the plans.

The cabinet has been recommended to note and discuss the museum feasibility study on Monday and work to apply for grant funding to pay for a museum development officer for the borough.

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