Monmouth Museum will not reopen in Market Hall

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Wednesday, June 9th, 2021 5:54pm

By Emily Gill - Local Democracy Reporter

Monmouth Museum will not reopen in Market Hall and will instead be moved into the nearby Shire Hall as part of a £2.6 million project.

Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet took the decision to close the museum in the Market Hall and reopen areas of the Shire Hall for public use.

Both buildings have been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking in the cabinet meeting, Cllr Phil Murphy, said it was a “very good opportunity” for the council to make more of Shire Hall.

He said: “It also gives us much more of an opportunity to make more of the Market Hall facility when it’s freed up.

“I think this is the right move. I am aware that it’s not universally popular but I think it will turn out to be the right move.

“It will be a benefit to the museum service, benefit to Shire Hall and benefit to the use of the Market building.

Cllr Jane Pratt said: “Shire Hall has such a rich and colourful history and it really is the right place to house these wonderful objects and showcase the history of Monmouth and our story.”

A council report on the plans says it would be “impracticable” for Monmouth Museum to reopen in the Market Hall, given the “tasks required to prepare for a move”.

It says: “It is therefore proposed that key areas of Shire Hall will reopen for public use, subject to any temporary opening or access restrictions required to allow the completion of the phase one provision incorporating the temporary museum displays.”

The move would take place in a phased approach. Phase one of the plan includes providing security and environmental adaptations to Shire Hall, conserving collection objects for display and addressing the immediate storage needs.

This is expected to cost around £250,000 and should be completed later this year.

As part of the project learning and community spaces will be created in the building, but this would not impact Monmouth Town Council, which is based in the Shire Hall.

A feasibility study was given the go-ahead in December last year, and the results found that the Shire Hall is “suitable for museum use and the conversion can be achieved respecting the building’s historic importance and listing”.

Under the plans, Market Hall could be a regional working hub, but further consultation is expected.

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