St Albans District Council is to submit another bid for funding to transform the Old Town Hall into a museum and gallery.
After missing out on £3m Heritage Lottery funding in March, the council’s Museums Project Board has decided to reapply in the next round of bidding.
Councillor Mike Wakely, portfolio holder for sports, leisure and heritage at the council said: “It’s about celebrating the uniqueness of St Albans.
“There’s a load of history hidden away here – the Magna Carter, the War of the Roses, Francis Bacon – and if we have a focus point we can let people explore it.”
The project, first proposed ten years ago, would see the contents of the Museum of St Albans moved from its Hatfield Road site to the Grade II listed Town Hall.
Mr Wakely said: “The current site is a bit small and in the wrong place and the Town Hall is under-utilised.
“It’s got the cells and the old court house that most people don’t even know about.”
Under the council’s plans, the new more central museum will display and conserve St Albans heritage from the medieval to the present day.
St Albans’ mayor Eileen Harris said: “I see the point of having the museum centrally. Where it is in Hatfield Road is a bit out of the way and it deserves more visitors.
“I’m still in two minds about how it would work with the old building, but you won’t know until it’s finished. It might be a jewel but I’d like to see the plans to get some idea of how it would work.”
The council can apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) up to three times.
Although bids for funding were oversubscribed last time, the HLF Board described the project as “a priority for support”, saying there was a strong rationale for moving the Museum of St Albans to the Town Hall.
Mr Wakely said: “Although the council’s first bid for Heritage Lottery Funding was not successful, the positive feedback provides us with grounds for submitting a further bid.
“We will be working closely with our partners over the next few months to help strengthen the bid before re-submitting it in August.”
The Museums Project Board includes representatives from the St Albans Museums and Galleries
Trust and the University of Hertfordshire, and is working in partnership with St Albans Cathedral and the Roman Theatre.
As well as the funding bid, the council will contribute £1.75m to the project and organise fundraising opportunities in the community.