We aim to create an accessible community space that celebrates local heritage and challenges pre-conceived ideas of what a museum and town council should be, by operating in one welcoming environment. A unique chance to start anew, we will develop a purpose-built space that will fulfil community needs.
The project will bring a building that has had strong community connections back to life as a community space. It will create greater access, improved interpretation, and better care for the museum collection. It will be a place for learning and inspiration, with flexible community rooms providing space for exciting events, workshops and exhibitions.
The £2m Newton’s Place project involves conversion and restoration of a disused, Grade II listed, Victorian church building near the centre of Newton Abbot - the former St Leonard’s Church on Wolborough Street.
The external and internal building structures will form part of the new museum displays and a first floor will be installed to provide rooms for a variety of community uses.
Following consultation with residents and groups, plans are currently being finalised for planning permission, and will be published online later in December.
Exciting new displays are being developed around flexible key themes, incorporating ideas from our ongoing community consultation and visitor surveys. Explanations and interactives for all ages will bring the stories to life and information will be made accessible in different forms to cater for a variety of needs. The larger space means that we will be able to bring items from the stores for the very first time.
Museum staff and volunteers are currently working their way through the collection to decide which of the 17,000 items will go on display.
Community Engagement Officer, Kate Green, is going out and about in the local area asking schools, groups and residents what they would like to see in their new museum and community space.
Look out for Kate at our pop-up museums where she will also be gathering more feedback on the concept designs.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
We are currently part-way through phase 1 (the ‘development phase’) of our Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) timescale, having heard in June 2017 that our initial bid for £150,000 had been successful.
Proposals and plans are due to be developed by the end of February 2018 to enable us to submit our application for phase 2 (the ‘delivery phase’) for a further £800,000 of HLF funding. We will hear the outcome of our phase 2 application at the end of June 2018. If successful, we will be able to start work on the building from July 2018.
The sale of the current Town Hall and Museum in Devon Square and St Paul’s Rd will contribute towards the project costs. We are busy preparing bids to other funders for the remainder of the money.
All donations to the project, no matter how small, are very much appreciated. Please visit the donate page for further details.
Newton is the newest recruit to the team, giving a helping hand with the promotion and marketing of the town, including events, activities and projects.
He will be out and about on a regular basis at both Newton's Place and Town Council events.
If you spot him, come and say hello - he's a friendly chap!