Preparations for Barracks funding bid are outlined
Plans for a £15million transformation of Berwick Barracks ‘are very much alive and kicking’.
That was the key message given by Sir Philip Mawer, chairman of Berwick Museum and Archives Action Group, when he addressed Berwick Tourism Conference last week.
He revealed that, over the coming 12 months, work will be going on work out a conservation management plan to ensure the long term conservation of the Barracks site and consider how different parts of it might be used in future.
All the collections on site will be catalogued and plans for their conservation and their effective display will be developed. Partners also aim to develop an inspiring strategic vision for the site, along with a shared understanding of options for its sustainable development and of how they can best work together to deliver its long term future.
“At the end of this phase of work, by the spring of next year, the partners will have an exciting and copper-bottomed plan on which to seek support from potential funders,” said Sir Philip.
The project aims to create an anchor tourist attraction which will tell the unique and often turbulent story of Berwick and the Eastern Borders.
“But while that is one aspect of the plan for a revived Barracks, it’s not the whole of it,” said Sir Philip. “The intention is to enable the Barracks to become a dynamic space for cultural and historic events, for exhibitions and artistic displays, for artisan and craft workshops and for many other activities – in short an engaging, living space, not a dead museum.
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“The project is large and complex. It follows that any case for investing in the development of the site needs to be very well prepared; extremely persuasive; almost certainly, be carefully phased; and, crucially, offer a sustainable, long term future for the site, one which safeguards the interests of all of the organisations involved in it.”
Sir Philip added: “The Barracks and the Ramparts are not a separate piece of Berwick’s tourism offer. They are an integral, I would say central part of it. So over the next 12 months the Barracks Partners will be looking to support and contribute as best they can to Berwick’s Welcome Visitor project and the town’s further tourism development.
“If you have ideas about options for the future use and development of the Barracks or for how the Barracks Partners can better contribute to the economic development of the town, do please share them with Sophie Howard, the English Heritage site manager, or with me. We all need to work together so that we can all benefit in the challenging, but I believe exciting times that lie ahead.”
Berwick Barracks is English Heritage’s most northerly site and has long been regarded as a site with developmental potential.
This project complements the recently successful Coastal Communities Fund bid from Berwick Coastal Community Team for the “Welcome Visitor” project. Welcome Visitor aims to establish the town as a key visitor destination for UK and overseas visitors, and will support wider regeneration ambitions through a package of measures including the development of a new Place Brand. The branding work is being led by well-known designer Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design.