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Future of Maritime Museum in Appledore secured

PUBLISHED: 20:31 23 June 2013 | UPDATED: 20:31 23 June 2013

Torridge agrees to a community transfer to hand museum building and car park over to museum trust.

TORRIDGE District Councillors has given the go-ahead to secure the future of the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore by transferring it to the trust that runs it.

It is the largest community asset transfer the council has carried out to date and follows a period of uncertainty for the museum as it was feared TDC would sell the building when the museum’s lease expired.

The North Devon Maritime Museum Trust submitted a community transfer application more than two years ago and this has been under review by the council’s member asset management working group.

“The aim of any community transfer is to make sure the community benefits in the long term and that the asset transferred is not a liability to them or the council,” said group chairman Councillor Gaye Tabor.

“The robust business plan submitted to us has been subject to a rigorous process of interrogation to ensure this will not be the case. We feel that we are happy to progress the transfer application and my very best wishes to the trust.”

Museum committee member Barry Hughes said the trust had been successfully running the North Devon Maritime Museum now for more than 35 years.

“We have great plans for the future which we could only fulfil if we owned the property and the car park, both of which are an important part of the Appledore Conservation Area and overlook the River Torridge and the historic Grade II listed Richmond Dry Dock, which has been such an important site in the maritime history of North Devon,” he said.

“For those people who have not yet visited the Museum, perhaps it’s time to now and find out more about your maritime heritage.”

Mark Horton, presenter of the TV programme Coast and Professor of Archaeology at Bristol University, visited the museum last week and said: “Appledore represents one of the most important bits of maritime heritage along the English coast line.

“The museum is a key part of all this because it tells that story and it’s in a very fine early 19th century building. It seems to me that there is such an opportunity here to help tell that story of Appledore and help regenerate this bit of North Devon.”

The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10.30am to 5pm and from 1.30-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit www.northdevonmaritimemuseum.co.uk/

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