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Preparation works start for new staircase and lift at New Walk Museum

Published on Friday, November 25, 2016

WORK is due to begin on preparing New Walk Museum for the installation of a new visitor staircase and lift.

Leicester City Council is replacing the existing staircase, which doesn’t meet modern health and safety standards, as well as adding a new visitor lift as part of major work due to start in January 2017.

As part of preparation works, the upper floor of the museum will shut for two days next week for essential enabling work.

The upstairs galleries of the museum, including the World Art exhibition, Picasso Ceramics, Arts and Crafts and German Expressionist displays, will be closed to the public on Monday, November 28, and Tuesday, November 29. Normal service will resume on Wednesday, November 30. 

Designs have been revealed showing how the new staircase and altered museum foyer area will look.

The new staircase is expected to cost about £543,000, plus an extra £80,000 for a lift to be installed in the entrance foyer.

The cost is being met by £300,000 from the council’s Property Capital Maintenance Provision budget, plus up to £343,000 funding as part of the council’s Economic Action Plan budget.

Further preparation work will take place over the Christmas holidays while the museum is closed. Installation work is expected to begin on January 3 and should be completed by late spring 2017.

During that time, the upstairs galleries will remain closed, although the ground floor of the museum, including galleries, the shop and the café will all remain open as normal, with access from the Lord Mayor’s entrance within the museum car park.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “New Walk is a stunning building and is our flagship museum, which attracts over 200,000 visitors a year.

“However, several parts of the building itself are in need of maintenance and modernisation to bring them up the standards expected by visitors.

“The main staircase isn’t very accessible, and there is only very limited lift access to the upstairs galleries via a goods lift, which makes it very difficult for people with wheelchairs or pushchairs.

“This new staircase will meet stricter fire safety regulations than the existing one, and the accompanying visitor lift will ensure that people with mobility problems will be able to fully enjoy this wonderful building.”

Detailed designs for the museum works have been drawn up by local architects Maber, and the council has also had to apply for listed building consent to carry out the changes.