New joint museum and library complex?

PUBLISHED: 09:35 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:52 05 March 2019

Exmouth's emerging neighbourhood plan supports a possible complex which houses both the town's museum and library. Picture: Terry Ife/Alex Walton

Exmouth's emerging neighbourhood plan supports a possible complex which houses both the town's museum and library. Picture: Terry Ife/Alex Walton

Archant

A new combined library and museum complex is one of five strategic schemes which an emerging planning document supports as a 'priority project'.

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

The Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan, which goes to a public referendum later this month, lists the idea as one of five infrastructure schemes it supports.

Libraries Unlimited, the charity which operates the library, says it is open to the idea of ‘exploring new ways’ of delivering services but there are currently ‘no plans’ to move from its Exeter Road base.

However a spokesman for the museum, which is in the middle of a £200,000 fundraising campaign to save its current Sheppards Row home, says it ‘wouldn’t be comfortable’ moving into a ‘shiny new building’.

A spokesman for Exmouth Museum said: “Over the years the museum has suffered from a feeling of being temporary as if waiting for something better to come along. This has prevented the management from making the best of its situation.

Exmouth library. Ref exe 2512-43-15AW. Picture: Alex WaltonExmouth library. Ref exe 2512-43-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

“Our feeling now is that although suffering from a dire lack of maintenance and investment the museum buildings, as historic and full of character as they are, are the best place for us, and that given that investment we could really improve them and bring them up to the standard people have a right to expect.

“We wouldn’t feel comfortable in a shiny new building, especially on the seafront which seems to be an idea expressed by some of the public.”

Library’s Unlimited, in a joint statement with Devon County Council which owns the Exmouth Library building, said: “Although there are currently no plans for the library in Exmouth to relocate, we are always open to the possibility of exploring new ways of delivering high quality library services and would carefully consider any new venues or locations presented to us.

“We want to ensure that the people of Exmouth can benefit from an accessible, welcoming and vibrant library for the long-term and we would therefore need to balance any proposed new locations against a sustainable and future-proof business case.”

Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan goes to referendum on Thursday, March 21. If it gains more than 50 per cent approval from voters, it will go back to East Devon District Council to be officially adopted.

Go to www.exmouthneighbourhoodplan.uk to view the plan.

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