Council set to approve multi-million pound plans for Chesterfield building

Multi-million pound plans to refurbish Chesterfield’s historic Stephenson Memorial Hall – which houses the town’s museum and Pomegranate Theatre – are set to be approved.

Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 4:14 pm

Proposals for the renovation of the Grade II-listed building are due to go before Chesterfield Borough Council’s planning committee on Monday.

Officers are recommending the plans be granted conditional permission.

Stephenson Memorial Hall, which houses Chesterfield Museum and the Pomegranate Theatre.

Under the proposals, the revamped Stephenson Memorial Hall will bring together under one roof an extended Pomegranate Theatre and a reconfigured and modern museum, new gallery space, a café bar, and education and community facilities.

The plans also include a new lift to help disabled guests as well as improvements to lighting, heating and ventilation.

The planned refurbishment is expected to cost around £15million with £11m of funding being secured via the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. The borough council has received almost £20m through this Government fund – the other £8m will go towards the Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield Project.

If planning permission is given, the museum will subsequently close from March 1 to begin the complex process of moving the historic collection into safe storage.

While the museum collection is moved, the Pomegranate Theatre will continue to operate as normal.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, the borough council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “Stephenson Memorial Hall is one of our most striking buildings and these exciting plans are set to make it even more memorable and enjoyable – creating a modern visitor experience in the heart of our town centre.

“Our wonderful museum is a central part of the building and we’re now preparing for the huge and complex task of moving thousands of treasured items that are in our local collections to a safe, temporary home.

“Subject to planning approval, the museum will close at the start of March and building work is set to begin later in the year.”

Items in the collection will be securely stored in a controlled environment to ensure preservation.

One of the signature pieces, the medieval builder’s wheel, will be stored with a specialist renovator who will clean it while work progresses in the building.

Coun Sarvent added: “We’re working hard to make sure people will still be able to enjoy our theatre and museum attractions in new and innovative ways while the transformation of the building is carried out.

“Our team at the museum regularly host interactive activities and events to help all members of our community connect with our history and we’re exploring even more ways to do this over the coming years – you’ll be able to find out more about our plans on our website and social media pages soon.”

Members of the public are reminded that Revolution House, a free museum in Old Whittington which tells the story of the Revolution of 1688, will reopen on April 15.

It will then be open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from 11am to 4pm until September 18.

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