Agenda item


To receive a report on the museum collection and a verbal update on Willmer House. (Report to follow)


Wilmer House


Peter Vickers, Head of Finance & Property, updated on the discussions that have taken place around the future of Wilmer House.  It has been assessed that it was going to cost in the region of £500k to repair and update the building to adequately house the Farnham Museum collection going forward.  Montagu Evans have been commissioned to assess options for the building.  Its conclusion was that the building as an asset would never be able to generate the revenue to pay its own way.  The report was to go directly to the Executive to formulate a way forward and would then be brought to Overview & Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise.


It was highlighted that regardless of the decision on the future of the actual building there was also a decision to be made on the future of the collection itself.


The Chairman asked if the Montagu Evans report would go to Property Investment Board or Value for Money (VfM) O&S after Executive as this committees remit was more in relation to the collection rather than the building itself. Peter Vickers advised it was more likely to be VfM O&S.


A member of the Committee raised concerns that no premature decision should be taken on the future of Willmer House. The Deputy Leader of the Council offered reassurance that the executive had made no decision so far and that it would begin its formal deliberation on this question shortly.


Farnham Museum Collection


Charlotte Hall, Arts and Cultural Services Manager, outlined the report that had been circulated as a supplement of the agenda. She explained that at the present time there was no comprehensive understanding of the various legal and ethical issues and costs that are associated with the collection itself.  There is a lot of evidence available of the experience of other museums who have not planned and sufficiently resourced at the outset.


With such a huge transition there is a potential to run into costs and controversy.  Waverley are the owners of the collection and have a duty of care to it.  There will be a lot of practical key decisions that have to be made as there are ethical considerations and a strict code of conduct governing museums.


The other side of the decisions is looking at potential sources of external funding.  The team are currently awaiting the arts council’s decisions on the applications to the Culture Recovery Fund. Concern was raised regarding any decision being made until all external funding applications have been exhausted.


It was highlighted that moving the Museum out of Wilmer House would have ramifications to the garden which leads to the gallery.


The Committee NOTED the information contained in the background section of the report, which responds to queries and comments from Committee members

at the Committee’s meeting in January 2021.


The Committee NOTED the verbal update from the Head of Finance and

Property on the Property Appraisal by Montagu Evans.


The Committee recommends that the Executive engages external professional advisers to support the Property Investment Advisory Board (PIAB) with a comprehensive appraisal of available options for the museum collection and service. Including a detailed legal, ethical and financial analysis of these options.




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