Suffolk County Council approves plans for new heritage centre in Ipswich

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The County Council’s Development Control Committee has approved the scheme to build the new heritage centre The Hold, beside the Ipswich Waterfront.

The Hold will deliver a new home for the bulk of Suffolk’s unique archival collections, as well as state-of-the-art public facilities and teaching spaces for the University of Suffolk.

The new building which will be situated near the junction of Fore Street and Grimwade Street, will be part of the University of Suffolk campus and will be run by the county and the university together.

The Hold is expected to attract 19,500 visitors per year, seeking to research local history, to find out about their families, or to take part in events and activities, and is scheduled to open by the end of 2019.

The total cost of the project is expected to be more than £20m. The county council has pledged £5m for the building and the university, £1m.

The project team has already secured development funding of £538,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and have recently received notification of a £80,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation.

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity which awards grant to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities, including museums and galleries, historic buildings and landscapes.

The Wolfson Foundation grant will be used to create the ‘Learning Space’ within The Hold – a fully-equipped educational space for learners of all ages to engage with and enjoy the county’s archival heritage. The Hold’s project team is also hoping to be awarded a further £10m from the HLF to complete the project and a decision on this is expected in April.

Councillor Tony Goldson, Cabinet Member for Public Health acknowledges the outcome of today’s Development Control Committee:

“This is fantastic news for The Hold and we’re very pleased to now continue with its development work. Building work will start in the Spring. I hope that both the people of Suffolk and visitors to the county will embrace our new state of the art Heritage Centre.”

Amy Rushton, Project Coordinator for The Hold comments on the announcement of the grant from the Wolfson Foundation, said:

“Suffolk Record Office has never had a proper Learning Space before; this grant from the Wolfson Foundation means The Hold will be able to offer school groups and adult learners a positive and stimulating learning experience - meaning more people can truly connect with our wonderful collections than ever before.”