Campaigners make U-turn over moving museum to new location

Campaigners are looking to reopen the original Bromsgrove Museum, after failing in an attempt to purchase Steps House.   Buy this photo BMM111405

Campaigners are looking to reopen the original Bromsgrove Museum, after failing in an attempt to purchase Steps House. Buy this photo BMM111405

First published in Local

CAMPAIGNERS attempting to reopen Bromsgrove Museum have made a U-turn on moving to a new location following a failed attempt to buy Steps House.

Last month, the Advertiser revealed the Friends of the Norton Collection Charitable Trust was looking to purchase the St John Street building.

To secure it the trust needed to raise the purchase price of £250,000 by the first week in March. Despite the fund-raising efforts of campaigners, including Dennis Norton who donated his lifetime's collection of around 25,000 artefacts to the museum, raising the money proved too ambitious.

During the fund-raising in February, the old Birmingham Road-based museum was opened for a special one-off weekend.

The museum was closed by Bromsgrove District Council in 2008, citing the spiralling running costs and a drop in visitor numbers.

But the success of the open weekend has given fresh impetus to the trust's original desire to reopen the Birmingham Road museum.

The trustees say they have been in negotiations with the authority's legal team, looking to make an official offer to purchase the building.

It has also been revealed that the Tourist Information Centre on the site, that closed at the same time as the museum, could also be reopened with the museum as part of the project.

Andrew Harris, the trust's chairman, said: "The trustees, and Dennis Norton in particularly, worked very hard fund-raising but it (the purchase of Steps House) proved to be too much to achieve in too short a time.

"We are determined to explore all possible options to see the museum open again.

"Local interest was demonstrated when the museum was open to the public and had nearly 1,000 visitors."

Mr Norton said although they were disappointed to lose out on Steps House, it would have taken a lot of work and the weekend proved reopening the Birmingham Road museum could be a success.

"The building is in a good location, which will have the new council house and library at Parkside just over the road," he said.

"The weekend showed people are interested in this museum."

A Bromsgrove District Council spokesman said: "We can confirm there have been discussions and the issue will be further considered by members of the council."

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