Crich museum seeks council approval for £400,000 plans

Crich Tramway Museum's exhibits have been deemed to have national importance but now they need protection.
Crich Tramway Museum's exhibits have been deemed to have national importance but now they need protection.

Having secured vital funds for the project earlier this year, Crich Tramway Village is now seeking council approval to refurbish its historic depot.

The £400,000 project is intended to renovate the exterior of three depot buildings and improve storage conditions for the fleet of vintage trams.

The depot buildings date back to the 1960s, and are in need of modernisation.

The museum’s general manager Mike Galer said: “At the moment it’s a bit like keeping your Ferrari in a garden shed. Some of our tram restorations can cost £500,000 but then we’re leaving them in an environment which can undo all that hard work.”

While the village often leads visitors to think of it as a theme park, for staff the challenges is running a museum, housing the finest and most comprehensive collection of historic trams in the country.

Mike said:“We’re finding that winters now are wetter rather than cold and harsh, and that is causing us new problems with mould and insects.”

He added: “It’s a challenge for every museum: how do you maintain artefacts in a stable condition between a winter storm and a hot, sunny day.”

At the moment, the depot roof leaks and the building is poorly insulated, causing unacceptable humidity levels and consequent damage to upholstery, timberwork and paintwork.

The plans which have been submitted to Amber Valley Borough Council call for new insulated depot doors, and the replacement of asbestos cement roofing and wall panels with steel sheeting.

Museum bosses also intend to upgrade the lighting and display areas to improve the visitor experience.

While the depot’s proximity to the Grade II listed Assembly Rooms facade requires heritage clearance, this is not expected to present issues.

The project was given a £100,000 Government grant earlier this year, with the remainder to come through donations and match funding.

The council expects to decide on the application by May 30. To view the plans in detail, go to http://bit.ly/2oYhQYB.