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Swale council is looking for new operator to run Sheerness Heritage Centre in Rose Street

Swale council is looking for a trust or community organisation to take over the running of a town centre museum.

The authority owns the Grade II listed building which houses Sheerness Heritage Centre and needs to find someone to take it on.

Volunteers Paul Dummott and Gaynor Akehurst have looked after it for many years, but the decision has been taken not to renew their contracts.

Sheerness Heritage Centre
Sheerness Heritage Centre

It comes following a review the council has been carrying out on the leases and management arrangements of some of its heritage assets.

A spokesman said representatives of the Sheerness Heritage Centre Trust were in talks but after considering the commitment, which could be for another 25 years, they decided not to take it on again.

The centre in Rose Street, Sheerness, opened in July 1989 after an agreement was signed between the trust and the council.

It was closed in mid-June after the trust worked with the council to get it ready for transfer to another organisation.

The hope is a similar trust or community organisation will be able to take on the building and continue the work of promoting the culture and heritage of the town.

Council officers are in the process of drafting an expression of interest to lease it out and it is hoped the doors will open again as soon as possible.

A meeting took place on Wednesday to agree the final details of the document, which will then be made available publicly.

A Swale council spokesman thanked Paul and Gaynor for their service, adding: “It is now time for the next generation of ‘heritage champions’ on Sheppey to grasp the opportunity and bring the building back to life.”

Mr Dummott thanked his colleague Gaynor, who he says has done a remarkable job for a long time as he has not been well.

Interested parties can contact Martin Goodhew on 01795 417399.

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