Museum could take on running of historic chapel

St Ives Chapel,

St Ives Chapel, - Credit: Archant

The Norris Museum in St Ives could take over the day-to-day running of the Bridge Chapel, after plans to turn it into a bar were withdrawn.

In a draft management agree-ment discussed by St Ives Town Council, the museum has proposed to monitor the chapel’s condition, manage bookings, and hold the key to the site, while owner, Cambridgeshire County Council, continues to maintain the building.

Written by museum director, Sarah Russell, the museum has also suggested recording visitor numbers and to judge appropriate uses before taking bookings.

“By allying it [the chapel] with The Norris Museum, it will form a coherent heritage offer in the town and raise the profile of the chapel as a place to visit,” the draft noted.

“It will also ensure that all activities are deemed appropriate for the nature of the building.”

The news comes after a licence application to transform the Grade-I listed chapel into a bar was withdrawn, following weeks of mounting concern against the idea.

Now, in an effort to protect it, the museum has proposed guided walks, art installations, and fund-raising activities as possible uses for the building.

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The Bridge Chapel working party at the town council has even added the possibility of it being a film location to the list.

Leading the plans, county councillor for St Ives, Paul Bullen, said a licence to hold small weddings at the chapel is also being looked into.

“The preferred option with me is for the Norris Museum to take over the running of the chapel,” he said.

“I brought it up at the assets and investment committee meeting and a paper will be going to that committee in November where I’m hoping they will give me permission to carry on with the plan.