Issue - decisions
Museum of Oxford Hidden Histories Project
The decision is to appoint Workhaus Projects Ltd to provide specialist skills and expertise to complete the Museum of Oxford Fit Out at a cost of £550,481.58.
The Head of Community Services had submitted a report to seek project approval for and permission to start the Museum of Oxford Hidden Histories Project, following the award of £1.63 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Councillor Dee Sinclair, Board Member for Culture and Communities, spoke to the report. She was pleased to be able to bring this report to the Board which was the next step in the visionary and ambitious plan for the future of the museum. She recorded her thanks for all those who had got the project to this point, noting in particular, the contributions of Cllrs Price and Simm and the officers involved. She was pleased to note the critical involvement of local residents in the development of aspects of the museum.
Cllr Price recorded thanks for the work of Vanessa Lea and David Juler and their contribution in preparing the successful HLF bid. He noted that HLF consideration of the bid passed without dissent; a reflection of the bid’s quality. He also remarked on the continuing importance of the local community in helping to determine what exhibits should be included.
Cllr Tidball remarked on the importance of the strong educational element in the museum, something which will be reflected in the emerging Children and Young People’s Strategy.
It was agreed that every effort should be made to ensure that work on this project was done by local companies and contractors, in addition to the reference in the report to Oxford Direct Services being the contractor for the main build.
The City Executive Board resolved to:
1. Grant Project Approval and permission to start the Museum of Oxford Hidden Histories Project, following award of £1.63m from the Heritage Lottery Fund;
2. Authorise capital expenditure of £2.65m capital and £362k revenue, to be financed by capital receipts, prudential borrowing and revenue (paragraph 22), over the life of the project;
3. Delegate authority to Head of Community Services, in consultation with the Heads of Finance and Law and Governance, to enter into any necessary funding agreements to secure the external funding for the scheme; and make any necessary in year budget adjustments;
4. Delegate authority to Head of Community Services, in consultation with the Heads of Finance and Law and Governance, to appoint and award any contracts that are necessary for the successful delivery of the project; and
5. Ask officers to return with a progress report in 12 months’ time.
The Head of Community Services had submitted a report to update the City Executive Board on the Museum of Oxford Hidden Histories Redevelopment Project and to request approval to the revised project budget.
Councillor Sinclair, Board Member for Culture & Communities said she was very pleased to bring the next stage of this exciting and important project to the Board. With the Board’s support the next step would be the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Corporate Lead for Culture and the Arts said there was a clear customer demand for an improved and expanded museum with a focus on the story of the City. Staff would work with the community to develop a rolling programme of community themed exhibitions alongside permanent ones.
Councillor Tidball, Board Member for Young People, Schools and Public Health, agreed that this was an exciting project and was keen that there should be strong intersect with education and the school curriculum. She also noted the importance of linking with Youth Ambition.
Councillor Hayes, Board Member for Community Safety, congratulated officers on the work to date. He was pleased that the museum would continue to be based in the Town Hall, not least because the building had witnessed some significant events in the City’s history.
In discussion it was agreed that the proposed organisation and themes would work equally well for both of the principal audiences, members of the local community and tourists. In relation to the latter it would provide an important (and the only) opportunity to provide a view of the City distinct from the archetypes often associated with it.
It was noted that the design would allow up to two classes of primary pupils to make use of the museum, simultaneously, in separate spaces. These spaces would all be suitable to let for social functions. There was clear potential for income generation.
The City Executive Board resolved to:
1. Note the progress made on the Museum of Oxford Hidden Histories Redevelopment Project;
2. Recommend to Council the increasing of the projects overall capital budget by £611,754 to £2,842,804 and the Councils capital contribution from £315,000 to £1,340,106 to be financed by prudential borrowing in accordance with paragraph 22 and 25; and
3. Note the increase in the Council’s revenue budget in respect of the additional cost of operating the new museum of £30k per annum with effect from 2020/21 which will be raised during the forthcoming budget setting process (paragraph 28).