Ottery’s first museum project is not at a ‘standstill’

The old Town Hall building in Ottery. Ref sho 14-16TI 8476. Picture: Terry Ife

The old Town Hall building in Ottery. Ref sho 14-16TI 8476. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Project leaders for Ottery’s first heritage centre and museum says progress is being made despite concerns that talks had come to a ‘standstill’.

The town’s regeneration group chairman says the group has been ‘dismayed’ at the lack of progress between Ottery Heritage Society and the town council on the project to turn the old town hall into a place to celebrate the town’s history.

Ottery Heritage Society announced its plans earlier this year to take over the former library in Silver Street, after presenting a petition of 700 signatures in support of its plan.

The society has also received a £300,000 bequest from the will of Betty Williams, who was a trustee of the group, to secure a premises for a museum.

Geoff Pratt, chairman of the regeneration group, said: “Since the last meeting, the project has come to a standstill and the members of the regeneration group are dismayed at the lack of activity, which is now causing concern and placing the restoration of the building and the creation of a heritage centre/museum in jeopardy.”

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The regeneration group was set up to look into areas highlighted by the parishes’ Neighbourhood Plan, focussing on areas including heritage and traffic.

Robert Neal, chairman of the heritage society, responded by saying there had been progress but more was being planned in the coming weeks.

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He said: “Progress has been made regarding the old town hall and meetings are planned in the coming weeks.”

Mr Neal added trustees had discussed how to use the bequest money left by Mrs Williams but was not going to comment at this time.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said the council and heritage society were set to agree to a tenancy at will for the building next week.

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