Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 6 March 2022
PLANNING PERMISSION has been given the ‘go-ahead’ so that a single-storey extension and alterations can be made to Nuneaton’s Museum and Art Gallery, based inside of Riversley Park.
The ‘innovative’ plans are hoped to deliver an increase in the Museum and Art Gallery’s footprint with two ground floor extensions, which will enable the creation of a large multi-use which will extend the engagement activities for community and commercial uses.
The plans will also see enabling connections be expanded.
This has been funded in part through the Towns Fund – which intends to deliver a transformation and will ensure that collections ‘flourish’ and see the Museum deliver pleasure and learning to audiences, whilst strengthening its role as a community resource to the town of Nuneaton.
Sean Farnell, Chair of the Nuneaton Town Deal Board, said: “I am delighted that this important step has been taken. It shows a great commitment to the cultural offering in the town and is another milestone towards the exciting town centre regeneration as part of the Towns Fund initiative.
He continued: “The museum plans really help to open the space up for more visitors and enhance the offer for a wider audience and I’m looking forward to seeing the plans come to fruition.”
A Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) spokesperson, stated that they were ‘hugely grateful’ to those who took part in the consultation held outside of the Museum in September which was followed up by an online questionnaire.
All comments which were received were passed to the architects, to help them evolve the scheme.
There was strong support for many elements of the scheme including a new café with park views, ground floor toilets and the introduction of a multi-use space.
After a procurement exercise, award-winning architectural and heritage consultancy practice, Purcell, were appointed.
Purcell have vast experience working with listed and historic buildings, museums, and galleries.
Architect Smaranda Ciubotaru, who is leading on the museum’s new design, said: “We are thrilled that the plans for the museum transformation have been approved.
“The museum is a highly significant local landmark, well-loved by the entire community which was reflected in the level of interest expressed in the public consultation.
“In our proposals to refurbish and extend the existing building, we sought to produce a design which is sympathetic to the architectural language already established on site.
Ciobotaru concluded: “The extensions take obvious cues from the proportions of the museum building, embracing the same restrained simplicity and restricted palette of materials.
“We aimed for a proposal which is sufficiently understated and respectful of the existing building, yet noticeably modern and contemporary.
“We hope that the new facilities will not only help safeguard the future of the building but also bring great benefit and value to the community.”
Coun. Sue Markham, Portfolio Holder for Public Services at the Borough Council, was thrilled to see the planning approved.
She said: “This is a great step forward for the museum transformation, the plans are so exciting, and I can’t wait to watch the next step in this journey.
“The developments will bring even more audience engagement, an enhanced exhibition offering and brand-new facilities which will add to a wonderful visitor experience at our already beloved museum.”