County pledges £5m to heritage centre

An artist's impression of the new heritage centre.

An artist's impression of the new heritage centre. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk has formally pledged £5m to go towards a new £17m heritage centre to be built in Ipswich to house the county’s records.

It will be joined by another £1m from UCS – on whose land it will be built – and is hoping to raise the rest of the money from other sources, principally the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money was pledged at Tuesday’s meeting of the cabinet, and ironically it came on the day that it emerged that UCS had suspended its heritage course because there were not enough students to make it cost effective.

Consultations have taken place over the jobs of three members of staff.

County council cabinet member Sarah Stamp said the proposed heritage centre was “ambitious and aspirational” but said a fall-back of a new storage facility costing £2.1m could have to be considered if lottery funding did not become available.

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However she said talks with Heritage Lottery Fund officials had been encouraging and it was hoped the centre could be open in the middle of 2019.

Tim Greenacre, Deputy Provost at UCS, said UCS remains a committed partner to the plans for a new heritage centre.

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He said: “Suspending recruitment is not a decision we have taken lightly. However we must ensure that our resources are matched with those subject areas where student demand is strongest and which can demonstrate substantial scope for growth as UCS expands.

“Although these particular courses have not been able to recruit strongly, we look forward to continuing our support for the local heritage community, particularly through our History provision.”

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