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July 2002 Press Releases


The first steps have been taken in plans for a new heritage centre that will tell the Story of Southampton.

A cross-party working group of city councillors, specialist officers and members of the city’s cultural consortium met last week to discuss ways of delivering a visitor attraction and education centre that would celebrate Southampton’s history - from its prehistoric origins, through important Roman and Saxon settlements, to thriving Medieval and Regency towns, and the city’s 20th Century role as Britain’s “Gateway to the World”.

The Heritage Working Group will develop an outline brief for what is envisaged as an imaginative and exciting visitor experience, coupled with an important reference and learning centre. In addition to an outline specification for the centre, the partnership will explore a range of options for potential sites and funding.

A report will now need to go city councillors outlining a way forward, and requesting funds for the feasibility of the scheme to be thoroughly researched.

Speaking on behalf of the Heritage Working Group, the city council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure & Tourism, Councillor Derek Burke, said: “Southampton has a wonderfully rich heritage and a unique story to tell. It is only by working in partnership that we will be able to deliver a quality heritage experience for Southampton residents and the many visitors from all over the world that the city welcomes each year. We are very grateful to group members for their vital contribution.”

Sqn Ldr Alan Jones, who chairs the Heritage Working Group, said: “The group has a clear aim of delivering a world-class heritage centre, and the progress already being made, together with the cross-party support for this wonderful aspiration, is very encouraging. Clearly, there is much work still to be done and it will be some time before we are clear on what can be delivered. Nevertheless, we remain committed to this partnership.”

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