Chichester’s Novium Museum could see big changes to increase income and save money

Chichester District Council is to spend around £30,000 on consultants to look into plans to increase income and save money at The Novium Museum.

Novium Museum Chichester
Novium Museum Chichester

A meeting of the full council was told that work being done on a business plan for the museum and tourist information centre had reached such a stage that consultants were needed to carry out feasibility appraisals of some of the proposals.

They include plans to redesign the museum entrance, shop and cafe; an enhanced cafe or restaurant on the ground or top floor; and glazing over the Roman baths to increase floor space.

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A report put to the meeting stated: “The council’s overall aim is to reduce the annual revenue budget for the delivery of the museum and tourist information services.

“All of the proposed projects have been identified due to their potential to generate additional income.”

The money will be released from the council’s general fund reserves.

The issue of museum funding was also raised by Josef Ransley (Con, Wisborough Green), who was concerned about the way some of the money was being spent – or rather not spent.

Mr Ransley said: “At the last overview and scrutiny meeting I was rather distressed to note that, while we spend £750,000 per annum on our district museum services, only 1 per cent of that budget is spent on documenting our social history and caring for our artefacts.”

He asked if more money should be provided for the service.

Council leader Tony Dignum (Con, Chichester North) said Mr Ransley had made a ‘very valid point’, but added: “We would certainly like more resources but we are under a lot of new cost pressures and it will have to take its place with all the other things that we’re facing.

“I can’t give you any promises.”