Press Release: Miscellaneous Announcements
Story Museum Plans For World Class Visitor Attraction Approved By Oxford City Council
Posted at 10:52AM Monday 17 Dec 2012
Plans to create a 'cathedral of stories' in Oxford have been given the green light by the city's planning committee. The committee was unanimous in passing the scheme to transform the Story Museum's city centre site in Pembroke Street, following a recommendation for approval by Oxford City Council officers.
The Museum's co-director Kim Pickin said today: "This marks a new chapter in the Museum's progress from pauper to prince – and brings us another step closer to the palace. We're delighted that our vision for a world centre of story has been endorsed by the city of Oxford."
John Goddard, vice chair of the planning committee, said: "Oxford is world renowned for its literature and particularly for children's literature and to have a Story Museum is exactly right for the city and a delightful addition. I look forward to seeing its interesting and fantastically exciting architecture."
The Story Museum's ambitious plans for the 20,000 sq ft site cover the refurbishment, repair and upgrade of three existing buildings and courtyard; alterations to the Pembroke Street elevation; new lift towers and walkways; and a rooftop walkway. Purcell Architects were appointed in August 2011, plans were submitted in September 2012 and approved on 12 December 2012. The Museum has consulted with visitors, schools, neighbours, community and heritage groups and aims to continue the conversation. "We're keen to involve as many people as possible in our vision from the very beginning. This is a museum for everyone and we shall continue to work closely with city planners about design and other issues," said Kim.
With £3.5m already raised – including an anonymous donation of £2.2m – the Story Museum needs to secure a further £8m to see all its plans realised and is now busy working on a development programme to raise the rest of the money. "We aim to open all year round from the end of 2015. The support of Oxford City Council now adds additional weight to our campaign and we're looking forward to our next adventure," said Kim. "We've had a hugely eventful year. Nearly 15,000 adults and young people have visited so far and been intrigued by the place and its potential for stirring the imagination. We're eager to put more ideas into action – and see how they run. Potential fairy godparents, please step this way."
Since May, The Story Museum has been running a development programme supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England and The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, WREN and others. Three major exhibitions, storytelling, talks, tours and workshops have brought visitors of all ages into the dilapidated building and the team is planning more magic for 2013. The Museum is also the coordinator of the city's popular Alice's Day, and its groundbreaking educational programme has championed storytelling in schools since 2005.