Cabinet to consider Cultural Centre partnership project

A new cultural centre for Winchester will come a step closer next week if Winchester City Council’s Cabinet agrees to join with the County Council in a partnership project to transform the Jewry Street library site.

The project, which it is estimated will cost up to £7million, would be funded by a mixture of capital receipts and contributions from the two Councils and will not impact on council tax. 

The centre is being designed by County Council architects and will provide Winchester with the most modern lending library in Hampshire, a new art gallery, a new space for exhibitions of museums collections, multi-purpose hall for presentations and performances, and the latest ICT facilities for access to information and learning.

It will also house the city’s reference library, replacing the North Walls library building, which has reached the end of its life.  Car parking will be laid out to maximise the spaces available for disabled users of the centre and of other Jewry St destinations.

Public consultation conducted by independent market researchers demonstrated majority support for the scheme over the option of simply refurbishing the existing building.

At its meeting on the 19 May 2004 the City Council’s Cabinet will decide whether to recommend support for the scheme to a full Council meeting in July.  The City Council would provide the land for the new extension to the building and invest up to £1 million in recognition of the facilities being gained and the potential benefits across the whole District. 

The County Council will finalise its funding for the scheme, which will include capital receipts from the sale of the existing reference library site on North Walls, at a Cabinet meeting in June.