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New Milton heritage centre hit by further delay due to structural issues with old station master's house



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BUILDING problems have forced a further delay to £100,000 plans to open a New Milton heritage centre.

The new venue at the town’s disused railway station master’s house had been hoped to open in the spring but has now been pushed back to the summer.

The delay stems from having to reattach a wall on the London-bound platform to the main building – known as No.1 New Milton because it was the town’s first building in 1886.

Keith Craze (left) and Milton Heritage Society treasurer Alan O'Sullivan pictured outside the station master's house in October 2019
Keith Craze (left) and Milton Heritage Society treasurer Alan O'Sullivan pictured outside the station master's house in October 2019

Town mayor Cllr Keith Craze, who spearheaded the project about five years ago, stressed the matter was not serious and there would be no cost to council tax payers.

Town mayor Cllr Keith Craze has spearheaded the heritage centre project
Town mayor Cllr Keith Craze has spearheaded the heritage centre project

“It’s a situation that happens frequently when you have an old building like this,” he told the A&T.

“Network Rail need to do the work, but it’s not in danger of falling down. There’s no cost impact for the council – it’s all being borne by Network Rail.

“Once they’ve done the wall, we can get on with the internal fixtures and putting up the displays. The building’s all been cleaned and rewired.”

As reported in the A&T, No. 1 New Milton has been hit by a number of setbacks over the years, including the pandemic and uncertainty over funding, which has since been resolved.

An artist's impression of what the heritage centre could look like inside
An artist's impression of what the heritage centre could look like inside

The attraction will include exhibits in each room of the ground floor, with a learning centre in a large room upstairs for schools and youth groups. This will also feature further heritage displays.

As provision of disabled access to the first floor is not possible, cameras are set to feed footage of exhibits to monitors downstairs.

Local historical group Milton Heritage Society is involved in the project to create a free-to-enter attraction telling the history of the area.#

The station house pictured in the early 1900s
The station house pictured in the early 1900s

Cllr Craze added: “We are all – the council, heritage society and community – looking forward to having a New Milton heritage centre recognising the growing presence of New Milton within the New Forest.”

South Western Railway has contributed a “significant amount” towards the project’s total expected cost of up to £100,000, with funding also coming from the National Railway Heritage Society.

Further sums have come from developers’ contributions and local donations, and taxpayers are footing up to £20,000 on a match-funding basis.



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