Planning permission has been granted for sensitive repairs and redevelopment of one of Sutton’s most historic buildings to make it more accessible to visitors.
Sutton Council’s Development Control Committee has approved modifications to the Grade II* listed Whitehall Museum in Cheam, which dates back to the 16th century.
The application, by Curl la Tourelle Architects, has been made in conjunction with Sutton Council as part of the council’s bid for about £1.5m of Heritage Lottery funding to do the works and also put on a programme of events that will make the building a cultural family-friendly centre.
The council will find out later this summer whether the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid will be successful.
The planning permission will allow modifications to the main building including external access ramps, doors, ramps and steps to improve accessibility throughout the museum, remedial works to roof timbers and secondary glazing to windows.
The permission is also for the building’s side addition, known as Roy Smith’s Gallery, to be partially modified, altering the roof height and raising the floor so that level access can be achieved throughout the ground floor. A two-storey extension towards the back of the building will provide a staircase and lift enclosure to allow access to the first floor, which will be wholly dedicated to museum use and include a new family/education space.
Due to Whitehall’s Grade II* listed building status, the planning permission is subject to referral to the National Planning Casework Partnership, as well as a successful HLF funding bid.
Cllr Jill Whitehead, Liberal Democrat Chair of Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, described the decision as ‘another step forward in securing the cultural history of the borough’. She said: “Whitehall is one of our oldest buildings and these upgrading modifications will bring history alive by allowing visitors easier and better access to more of the museum.
“However, the work is subject to our securing a National Heritage Lottery funding bid and we will learn whether we have been successful later in the summer.”