Leicester City Council is due to approve investing a total of more than £2.8million on projects to improve and develop two landmark museum buildings.
The plans will see £2.644million invested in essential repairs and operational enabling works at the Grade II-listed Jewry Wall Museum/Vaughan College site, which are needed before the building can be brought back into any sort of use.
The works include repairs to the roof and windows, a new walkway and entrance lobby suitable for disabled visitors, a new lift shaft and stairs connecting the upper and lower floor.
In addition, £165,000 is proposed for further developing plans for the refurbishment and improvement of Abbey Pumping Station as part of a long-term project to improve the museum’s existing main gallery space, refurbish the transport shed and add a new café, increasing visitor numbers by 50 percent.
The £2.809 total investment includes £1.022million of previously approved funding for Jewry Wall and Vaughan College, paired with a new £1.787million from resources set aside for the Economic Action Plan.
At both sites, carrying out the work will move the redevelopments forward, enabling the city council to apply for further external funding.
Jewry Wall Museum is envisaged as a state-of-the-art visitor attraction that celebrates Leicester’s Roman history, building on the upturn in tourism due to the King Richard III story, showcasing the city’s 2,000 year history and creating an educational resource for schools.
While progress is continuing to secure funding for the new attraction, the proposed building works will bring the building up to standard by creating a clean ‘shell’ needed for any future use.
The Jewry Wall Museum site overlooks the remains of the Roman bathhouse and the Jewry Wall itself – one of Britain’s largest examples of free-standing non-military Roman architecture.
For Abbey Pumping Station, approval of the spending would enable plans to get to a stage where a planning application could be submitted.
The grounds of Abbey Pumping Station benefitted last year from a £500,000 package of environmental improvements and landscaping work, including a new dementia-friendly garden, children’s play area and some external restoration work.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby is set to approve the spending on the two projects.
He said: “Jewry Wall Museum and Abbey Pumping Station play a key part in telling the story of the city’s history, and both are the focus of ambitious works that will improve the fabric of the buildings, as well as the visitor experience inside.
“The investment being approved is a combination of money set aside in the city’s Economic Action Plan budget, and over a million pounds of previously-approved funds for the Vaughan College/Jewry Wall project.
“In the case of Jewry Wall, the long-term plan is to transform it into a world-class visitor centre and museum, but the works we are agreeing to fund are needed to bring the buildings up to modern standards and good condition, regardless of their eventual use.
“In that sense this is an investment in securing the future of this Grade II listed building and adjoining Vaughan College site.
“At Abbey Pumping Station, the money will enable the improvement plans to continue and develop to the stage where they are detailed enough to support a planning application.
“In both cases, the progression of these plans will strengthen our position to continue to seek further funding and hasten the process of bringing these plans to fruition.”