Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Chairman says long-running project has finally reached “the end of the beginning”
Plans to establish an Axminster Heritage Centre have taken another major step forward.
Officials and guests gathered at Thomas Whitty House on Thursday for the unveiling of a refurbished first floor room for community use.
The building – the original home of Axminster Carpets - was bought by Axminster Heritage Ltd with plans to turn it into an interactive visitor attraction, highlighting the history of the town.
It is also intended to relocate the tourist information centre and museum to the three-storey building, off Trinity Square, along with a shop and café.
But last year the trustees announced that a shortfall in funding meant the hoped-for opening of the complex has had to be delayed.
In the meantime they are putting the building to the best possible use, making it available as offices and for a community space.
Addressing guests in the new meeting room last week chairman Dr John Church said they had finally reached the “end of the beginning” in their long-running quest to establish the heritage centre.
He said three of the five new offices had already been let and the community room was now available for the many activities that went on in Axminster.
Mayor Jeremy Walden thanked Dr Church and his committee for their dedication. The eventual heritage centre would be great for tourism and, more importantly, education.
“The town of Axminster thank you for what you have done and for what you are going to do,” he added.
East Devon Council Chairman Graham Godbeer pledged the authority’s support in helping to complete the original project.
A plaque marking the vital funding provided for the project by the Making it Local organisation was presented to Dr Church by its chairman Paul Diviani.