Attraction to close at the end of March

Barnstaple Heritage Centre is to be closed down in March.

The attraction on the Strand, which offers visitors the chance to discover 1,000 years of Barnstaple history, has fallen victim to the town council's 'Better Barnstaple' plan.

The council today (Friday) revealed its five year vision to protect services in the town and make its heritage 'available to a wider public audience'.

Council tax is to be increased by 18.2 per cent this year, to £86.68 for a Band D property.

It said the decision to close the centre and move heritage provision to the Guildhall was among the projects it was pursuing.

The building beneath the 18th century Queen Anne statue offers a variety of interactive exhibitions to enable people to experience Barnstaple through the ages, from Saxon times through the English Civil War and beyond.

Staff numbers are to drop from 20 to 17, but it is not known how many of these worked at the Heritage Centre.

The Queen Anne building is leased from North Devon Council.

Sue Haywood, chairman of the council's finance and general purposes committee, said: "Our consultation with the public over the last year suggests very strongly that people are prepared to pay a little extra to maintain services that are being cut by the larger councils and to protect the town's heritage, and we think that 25p extra per week is reasonable to achieve this."

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