Heritage, Cultural and Learning Hub passed through by Tunbridge Wells council

    Construction of the £13million Heritage, Cultural and Learning Hub is scheduled to start in one year after councillors rubber stamped designs.

    In a meeting last week the Planning Committee of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] granted permission for the project to proceed.

    This will see the town’s library, museum, art gallery and Adult Education Centre united in a redesigned single unit to make a more efficient use of space.

    Committee member Councillor Graham Munn said: “It was a unanimous decision to approve going ahead.

    “It harmonises services and creates space for the vast array of artefacts.

    “A lot of items are in storage [at the moment] and it would be good to see some of them on display.”

    TWBC is now hoping the project will be pass through administrative stages.

    The stage 2 funding applications have been submitted to Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund, who could help finance the project.

    Contractors will then be appointed to carry out works from next January and will last for two years, forcing the temporary closure of the museum and library.

    TWBC has committed to providing the services from other locations throughout the interim period and is exploring options on how to best deliver this.

    Jo Wiltcher, Manager of Tunbridge Wells Museum, previously told the Times: “It’s not just about design – activity and what goes on in this building are just as important.

    “This will allow the hosting of new activities that we wouldn’t be able to hold on the current site.”

    A special feature of the new design is a Tunbridge Wells Experience room, which will incorporate a tourist information desk. There will also be an education suite.

    TWBC hopes the hub, which flanks Town Hall, will become the ‘heart of the community’ and will allow more of the museums 77,000 items to be on show.