Museum enters Lottery fund bid

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MILDENHALL Museum’s long-awaited bid for a Lottery funding grant has finally been submitted.

Lizzie Cocker, Forest Heath District Council’s arts and heritage officer, said on Monday that a stage 2 application had been made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funds for a £1 million overhaul of the current museum site.

Slow progress on the funding process had led to frustration from museum bosses, especially since planning permission had been secured in September last year.

But Ms Cocker said that if their bid was accepted then work could begin on the site in the summer of 2012 for a completion date of October 2013.

Stephanie Palmer, chairman of the museum’s group of trustees, said the group must keep its fingers crossed for a positive response.

“It’s just a waiting game for us now. If Heritage Lottery come up with the money then Forest Heath will add some and we have asked the parish council for some of the Sainsbury’s money,” she said.

Ms Cocker, speaking at a meeting of Mildenhall Regeneration Working Group, also gave further details of the plans for the revamped building.

Improved disabled access, a refurbished display for the Mildenhall Treasure and a community space with kinestethic learning facilities – tactile, interactive attractions – will all be introduced.

The revamp will also provide space to showcase one of the area’s most important finds, the Lakenheath Horse and Warrior.

Mrs Palmer said: “This work will mean that Mildenhall will be able to be marketed as a half day visit town.

“You have a church which is one of the best in Suffolk, a museum and a market place which is 600 years old next year.”

Ms Cocker added that several local schools are involved in the planning for the new museum site.