A £2.6 million project in Monmouth could involve the town's museum moving into the nearby Shire Hall.

A decision will be made next week on whether to close Monmouth Museum, in the Market Hall, and reopen areas of the Shire Hall for public use.

Both buildings have been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Monmouthshire County Council report on the proposed plans says it would be “impracticable” for Monmouth Museum to reopen in the Market Hall, given the “tasks required to prepare for a move”.

It says: “It is therefore proposed that key areas of Shire Hall will reopen for public use, subject to any temporary opening or access restrictions required to allow the completion of the phase one provision incorporating the temporary museum displays.”

The report proposes a phased approach to the plan, which would see part of the Shire Hall incorporate Monmouth Museum


Learning and community spaces would also be created in the building, but this would not impact Monmouth Town Council, which is based in the Shire Hall.

The report says: “This would allow for a new visitor flow on the ground floor, including creating community exhibition and learning spaces.

“The main displays on the first floor, would use the full room volumes and the circulation spaces.”

A feasibility study was given the go-ahead in December last year ,and the results found that the Shire Hall is “suitable for museum use and the conversion can be achieved respecting the building's historic importance and listing”.

Phase one of the plan includes providing security and environmental adaptations to Shire Hall, conserving collection objects for display and addressing the immediate storage needs.

This is expected to cost around £250,000 and should be completed later in 2021.

The report says: “It is anticipated that the combined facility and staffing will allow for extended opening hours compared to the current museum, and the intention is to utilise the initial phase to explore options such as early evening opening.”

If the proposal is given the go-ahead, the Market Hall could be used as a hub for regional working.

A decision on whether to press ahead with the plans will be made by the county council’s cabinet next Wednesday, June 9.