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New museum on former public toilet site in Sleaford 'would boost economy'

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

Marianne Overton is positive on the economic effects of the museum

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A new museum could be built on the site of a former public toilet in Sleaford.

A collection of artefacts, dating back more than 2,000 years, will be housed in Monument Gardens if plans are approved.

Sleaford Museum Trust and Sleaford Town Council are putting the final touches on their application for planning permission.

If approved by North Kesteven District Council, the museum would focus on the history of the market town.

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It would be a "living museum" telling stories of local life, businesses and buildings.

Marianne Overton, leader of the opposition at Lincolnshire County Council, says the scheme will restore people's pride in the town.

"Sleaford is a town I am heavily involved with and it has a great history," she said.

"It will provide a huge boost to the local economy and give people a real sense of pride.

"Sleaford will draw on its heritage in its art and cultural buildings and a museum in the centre of town is natural."

"It links well with other attractive developments and will undoubtedly be very popular and accessible to all.

"It will be of benefit to the whole town and to the people who visit Sleaford. Tourism numbers will also increase as a result.

"Working with the Local Government Association nationally, we have looked hard at what makes towns successful. One clear message is to support what identifies a town as special and different, enhancing its individual and attractive character.

"For Sleaford this will do that perfectly."

The former public toilet block was built in the 1930s but has stood empty for several years.

It is believed the new site will be open three days a week and could be staffed by volunteers.

David Marriage, chairman of Sleaford Museum Trust, said: "It is very early days with the project so I wouldn't want to say too much at this stage.

"But if approved, then it will be a very exciting project."

Karen Bradford, corporate director at North Kesteven District Council, said: "The regeneration of Sleaford is a high priority for our council, and anything that enhances the cultural offer in the town, and celebrates its history would be beneficial."

The Museum Trust was created in 1994 following the closure of the last town museum.

A virtual museum exists already. For further details, go to www.sleafordmuseumtrust.co.uk

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