Plans unveiled to improve museum’s kitchen and disability access

Sidmouth Museum. Ref shs 17 18TI 1742. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Museum. Ref shs 17 18TI 1742. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Plans to build an extension onto Sidmouth Museum have been unveiled.

The Sid Vale Association (SVA) is looking to improve its existing kitchen and toilet facilities and offer better disability access through a single storey expansion.

In a letter to the town council, the SVA sought permission to its concept design for the Grade II listed Hope Cottage before proceeding to apply for planning permission and listed building consent.

Currently, visitors requiring a disabled access have to use a ramp at the front door which the SVA says is ‘very awkward’ for users and museum staff.

The extension would replace the existing window to create a new rear entrance.

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Staff would also benefit from an enlarged kitchen and new toilets which are currently ‘substandard’.

Richard Thurlow, chair of the SVA, said in the letter to the council: “The reasons for wishing to carry out the work are twofold.

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“Firstly, as you may be aware, the existing kitchen and toilet facilities are very poor, both being cramped and in need of updating and, as the latter has direct access from the former, certainly does not comply with current building standards.

“Our volunteers deserve better facilities.

“We would also enlarge the existing kitchen by incorporating the existing toilet, and constructing a new toilet for both able and disabled users, with access from the existing car park.

“The extension would necessarily decrease car parking space but would still leave sufficient room for a small vehicle.

“It is our intention to carry out the work in the next museum closed season.”

At Sidmouth Town Council’s recent meeting on Monday, April 8, members welcomed the plans.

Councillor Kelvin Dent said: “There would be new access from Amyatt’s Terrace and a new toilet tea bar and some new unit storage units.

“The existing toilet and kitchen is very substandard and there are no facilities for any people with disability.

“I very much welcome these proposals.”

The museum recently added to its collection when a Sidmouth couple donated a 12,000 year old mammoth tooth they discovered near Salcombe Regis, more than a decade ago.

The Sid Vale Association will submit a planning application at a future date.

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