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Relocated Chatteris museum opens as part of Combined Authority market towns improvement


Relocated Chatteris museum opens as part of Combined Authority market towns improvement

There were celebrations in Chatteris to mark the opening of the town’s relocated museum, supported with funding from the Combined Authority and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

On Saturday Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson and Deputy Mayor Cllr Anna Smith joined the Mayor of Chatteris Cllr Anne Hay, Combined Authority Business Board Chair Al Kingsley and museum volunteers to celebrate a project which aims to help revitalise the town centre, attracting residents and visitors, and supporting the local economy.

Funding of £1.05m from the Combined Authority’s Market Towns Programme supported the Chatteris Town Council-led project to purchase and convert 2 Park Street into the museum and community room, with offices above, and to extend and convert 14 Church Lane to create three community rooms, bigger council offices and chambers and two residential flats.

The community rooms will be available to organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau and the local doctors’ surgery to enable them to bring more services to the town. The museum’s National Lottery Heritage Fund grant was for part of a project looking at Chatteris one hundred years ago. ‘Chatteris20s’ was a project linked to the release of the 1921 census, involving schools, community groups and local people through dance, art and research projects.

The museum, now located in the former Barclay’s Bank, formed part of the ambitious regeneration scheme, reflecting one of the nine key proposals for Chatteris highlighted in the Growing Fenland Chatteris Town Masterplan, also funded by the Combined Authority. This was to ‘develop a stronger cultural offer and evening economy’ including developing a more creative use for the recently closed bank that would ‘stand in defiance against High Street decline, by positively embracing new usage for the building.’

The Combined Authority also supported the development of Chatteris Skills Centre with funding for computer equipment, and the Chatteris Renaissance Scheme to improve the look of the High Street by offering grants for business premises and arranging for the refurbishment of the street furniture, as a part of the Market Towns Programme.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “It was lovely to be at the re-opening of this fantastic museum and the occasion was testament to the hard work and passion of the museum volunteers and Town Council to reimagine this building for the benefit of Chatteris’ future.

“Our market towns are part of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s unique identity and heritage, but their high streets have been hit hard. Our Market Towns programme is putting investment back into their futures and we are seeing the results across our region, benefiting local economies and communities.”

Chair of the Combined Authority Business Board, Al Kingsley, said: “As the Masterplan for Chatteris made clear, the repurposing of the closed bank to host the museum represents the community standing in defiance against the decline of the high street. This is a fantastic case study of evolving and adapting to change and another example of Combined Authority investment coming to fruition.”