Plans to expand Banbury Museum to strengthen ‘cultural centre’

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MHBG-05-12-13 Banbury Museum GV''Banbury Museum GV'Taken from Castle Quay ENGNNL00120131129153236

Banbury Museum could be more than doubling in size to strengthen the town’s ‘cultural centre’ if councillors back its expansion plans.

The museum hopes to build a three-storey extension to provide more room for exhibitions, a lecture hall and a cafe.

The overall floor space would go from 1,322sqm to 2,815sqm with an extension of a modern style built towards Spiceball Park Road.

Cherwell District Council’s planning committee will discuss the proposal at its meeting at 4pm tomorrow, Thursday, with officers recommending approval.

A document submitted with the plans says: “We believe that the proposed extension and refurbishment of the museum should be considered a positive addition to the character of the Castle Quay/Spiceball Park Road area.

“The additional and reconfigured space will allow the museum to become an even more significant cultural centre for the region.”

Oxfordshire County Council opposes the plans over parking fears because the extension would build on the short access road.

District council officers disagree with the county council as they argue the proposal would have little impact on traffic and parking.

“This will be a clear cultural benefit for the town and remainder of the district,” the officer’s report says.

“Although the plans accompanying the application are illustrative it does demonstrate that such an enlargement can be undertaken without undue harm to the adjacent heritage assets of the Oxford Canal Conservation Area and the Tooley’s Boatyard SAM [scheduled ancient monument].”