Royal Victoria Place booked as temporary home for library and museum
by William Mata | 31st October 2018
MONTHS of speculation have come to an end with the announcement yesterday [Tuesday] that Tunbridge Wells Museum and Library will be temporarily rehomed in Royal Victoria Place.
An arrangement has been made with shopping centre owners British Land that will see space made available near its Meadows Road [car park] entrance.
The relocation will last for two years from January as the £13million Amelia Scott Cultural Centre is built to bring library, museum, art gallery and adult education services under one roof in the existing Civic Way site, next to the Town Hall.
Cllr Jane March, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s portfolio holder for culture, said: “It is good to put an end to speculation and confirm the location.
“Whilst we will be offering a service which is very limited, compared to what’s currently available, it does ensure the museum still has a presence in the town.”
Until now the borough council and Kent County Council, who are jointly behind the project, had not confirmed the interim location.
There had been speculation services would be housed at The Camden Centre, a council-operated space for hire.
More than 330,000 people use the library every year, making it Kent’s second busiest.
It is set to close in the new year and reopen in early 2021 as part of the Amelia Scott Cultural Centre – which will also include tourist information and The Gateway, a centre for residents to enquire about council services.
The work of dismantling and putting the existing museum displays into storage has already begun. The last day for public access to the museum and art gallery is expected to be Friday, November 30.
Cllr Mike Hill, Kent County Council’s portfolio holder for Community and Regulatory services, said: “Finding a temporary home was not an easy task.
“But officers have produced the most appropriate solution to keep the various facilities available to the town’s residents while the hub is being built.
“Moving the library is a necessary part of the project and I am delighted that we are able to announce the latest stage of the development plans.”
Further details, such as library book return arrangements, will be publicised nearer the time.