The team behind the Newton’s Place museum and community space project is celebrating confirmation of additional National Lottery funding worth £800,000.
The award, made by the Heritage Lottery Fund, means the Newton Abbot Town Council scheme is on target to open in approximately 18 months’ time. It will both provide a facility residents have repeatedly asked for and save the Grade II Listed former St Leonard’s Church from dereliction or conversion into flats.
Project champion Cllr Mike Ryan described the grant as a vote of confidence in Newton Abbot and its people. ‘With this £800,000 award, and our first of £150,000 to help with development costs, the HLF has now invested £950,000 of Lottery players’ money in our town and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful,’ he said. ‘We’ve a proud history and heritage to look back on and a great future to look forward to. Newton’s Place will be a community space with huge opportunities for the residents of Newton Abbot and the surrounding settlements. In these tough financial times people will no doubt be delighted to know that all of the core facilities we intend to provide, such as the museum, will be free to use.’
Cllr Ryan said the latest good news was just one strand in an improving picture for Newton Abbot. ‘Our town centre is as vibrant as any in the country and set to be enhanced further with the arrival of the £2 million Newton’s Place. The Town Council has already helped to deliver improvements such as Golden Lion Square and Victoria Gardens, now a new museum and community space is taking shape thanks to our initiative and the team of dedicated professionals and volunteers working hard behind the scenes to realise the dream’.
Construction work at the former church in Wolborough Street is expected to start this autumn with the build projected to take a year. Fitting out and moving the museum and council offices from Devon Square will take a further few months with the doors opening to the public in the winter of 2019/2020.
‘The countdown has really begun now,’ said Cllr Ryan.