At Mondays Full Council meeting, I asked Cllr Jill Whitehead, what the impact would be on Cheam Village of Whitehall receiving the £1.5million Heritage Lottery Fund bid. Cllr Whitehead said:
It is wonderful news we’ve succeeded in bringing yet more HLF investment into the Borough, this time for Whitehall in Cheam. We already know that HLF funding for Honeywood in Carshalton brought amazing economic and social benefits. This included a boost for the local Friends Group who put on the successful Carshalton on Sea festival a few weeks ago. We expect the same boost for the Friends of Whitehall.
We do expect both social and economic benefits for Cheam Village arising from the successful HLF investment. We expect visitor numbers to rise from 7,500 to 20,000, not only people from the local community, but also visitors from further afield and tourists who want to see what the Borough has to offer. The increased footfall in the village will benefit the small businesses near to the centre of Cheam. We know from Honeywood that the higher profile and increased use will attract a new generation of Friends and volunteers, increasing the involvement of the community in Whitehall.
.A week long heritage festival is planned for Cheam in 2018, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Whitehall first opening to the public. This will attract visitors with an interest in local history, who will be able to visit not only Whitehall but also other heritage and visitor sites such as Grade 2* Nonsuch Mansion and Park, Warren Farm with its Orchid Field, Cherry Orchard and the remains of the Tudor Banqueting Hall, Cheam Park with its childrens playground, croquet Lawn and Tea Shop at the Newly furbished pavilion and the St Dunstans Church and the Grade 2* Lumley Chapel. The Whitehall exhibitions will focus on the people who have lived at Whitehall and in Cheam Village celebrating their lives and the contribution they have made to local and national history.
As part of our commitment to the One Planet Living agenda, visitors will be encouraged to cycle or use public transport and promotional activities will target areas along the main transport connections. There will also be a significant improvement in physical accessibility to enable the museum to become a local hub for target audiences including people living with disability, dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Families and local schools will benefit from a range of resources and activities that promote health and wellbeing, and also work experience for young people.”
I then asked Cllr Whitehead:
“I welcome the news that Sutton Council will be improving the physical accessibity of Whitehall. Because it is a Tudor building, it has decidedly higgledy piggledy stairs, sloping floors and many different levels.
Please can I have your assurance that from the very start, we will be involving Suttons disability groups in the design of features which will make the building 80% accessable to disabled people, but will not be disturbing any of the buildings unique features, which make it Grade 2* and that Ward Councillors will be kept fully updated.”
Cllr Whitehead said “YES!”