First hurdle is cleared for access bridge plans

Plans for improved access at Seaford Museum have been supported by town councillors.

Proposals for an access bridge and an internal lift were on the agenda at a Planning and Highways Committee meeting last Thursday (August 29).

Committee members discussed the planning application and listed building consent application which has come about thanks to the generous offer of a donation of £200,000 from the Keith Baker Memorial Will Trust Charity.

The proposal was backed by the committee and a final decision will be made by Lewes District Council at a later date.

If the application is supported by the district council then the museum – based within the Martello Tower which is owned by Seaford Town Council – will be able to make the museum more accessible to both wheelchair users and those that are less mobile.

David Swaysland, vice chairman of Seaford Museum, said, “We’re really pleased that they (the committee) have given their enthusiastic support and it’s just the next step along the line.

“We do still need to raise £50,000 for it. We’re looking to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund should we receive planning permission [from Lewes District Council].”

The total cost of the project is estimated to be in the region of £250,000 and a bid will be put to the Heritage Lottery Fund. If that fails other sources of funding will need to be sought.

During the summer Kay Turvey, museum chairman said of the plans, “Over the last thirty years the possibility of making the Museum accessible to people with mobility problems had seemed like a utopian dream. I am now looking forward in the hope that I will never again have to stand outside the Museum door apologising for our lack of access, or watching with deep anxiety as people struggle with the challenging stairs.

“Over the years we have done our best through videos, the loan of items, giving illustrated talks and responding to research enquiries on line, but nothing can replace the physical experience of a visit.

“The Keith Baker Trust has made the utopian dream become a real possibility.”