Loan agreement secured to save Exmouth Museum

PUBLISHED: 10:27 04 October 2019

Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 39 17TI 1498. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 39 17TI 1498. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The wheels have been put in motion for Exmouth Museum to win its race against time to buy its current home.

East Devon District Council's (EDDC) cabinet on Wednesday (October 2) agreed to issue a loan to Exmouth Museum of up to £105,000 to enable them to purchase its Sheppard's Row home.

The Victorian building is owned by South West Water (SWW) and the site had been offered to the Museum before they put it up for sale on the open market.

SWW wants £150,000 and the museum currently has funding available of at least £45,000.

The council would borrow monies from the Public Works Loan Board and enter into a back-to-back agreement with the museum at the fixed interest rate obtained.

The deal would be subject to a property valuation to ensure adequate security over the loan and assurance obtained from the museum of the ability to meet the annual loan payment.

The chairman of trustees, Councillor Steve Gazzard, said that they were grateful for the offer of the loan and that once they did own the building, it would enable them to make grant funding application for further improvements to the museum.

He said: "The museum was opened as a result of demand from the public to safeguard mementos, collections, memorials, shop fittings and signs.

"To date, the museum has over 10,000 exhibits.

"Exmouth needs to keep its museum for the town, future generations and visitors."

Concerns were raised by members of the cabinet over the vagueness of the proposal, the lack of detail as to how much they would be lending, and how the museum could finance the repayments.

But Cllr Geoff Pook said that there are some experienced and skilled people who would be able to take a decision as to whether to go ahead or not.

Cllr Geoff Jung added: "The museum is very important for Exmouth.

"If they fail to pay the repayments, it would be secured by the property, so what is the risk? It is worth preserving and there is not much monetary risk.

"If we lose the museum, it would be a great shame."

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