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Launch party starts countdown to Tunbridge Wells Cultural Hub

by William Mata

Launch party starts countdown to Tunbridge Wells Cultural Hub

The countdown to the opening of the £13.2million Tunbridge Wells Cultural and Learning Hub has started.

Historians, councillors and visitors are eagerly awaiting the completion of the project, which is to be named after town suffragist Amelia Scott.

The hub will combine the town’s library, museum, tourist information and gallery in a redesigned centre on Civic Way, which will provide a more efficient use of space and allow more exhibits to come on display.

And following the approval of several grants, contributing towards the project, there is only £1million left to raise.

Last week the town’s great and good gathered inside the existing Museum & Art Gallery to mark the launch of the hub, which is set to open in the summer of 2021.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Kent County Council are jointly behind the project, which has been backed with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and from Arts Council England.

Borough councillor Jane March, portfolio holder for culture, said: “It is my belief that the council’s cultural strategy and commitment to cultural regeneration is an important economic driver.

“The Amelia Scott project will do much to enhance and safeguard the future of the town, this type of attraction encourages inward investment and brings visitors into the borough.”

Visitors to the launch party got to see artist impression images of the hub, which showed prominent displays of costumes and old vehicles, some of which are suspended from the ceiling.

The borough council is hopeful the hub will attract more than 400,000 visitors a year.

Architectural firm Purcell and designers Metaphor have been appointed to oversee the design side, while a contractor will be appointed in December to build it with construction to begin in January next year.

Library and museum services are to be temporarily re-homed throughout the two year building process.