Free entry for Chichester’s Novium confirmed

Cathy Hakes, museum manager, with Myles Cullen
Cathy Hakes, museum manager, with Myles Cullen

THE NOVIUM museum will have free admission from November 17, following a decision by Chichester District Council’s cabinet this morning (September 9).

The cabinet debated the move in public, following an initial bid to discuss the move in a section of the meeting excluding the press and public.

Myles Cullen, deputy leader of the council, said: “What we have here is a programme of work that will increase footfall in the museum.”

The move came after figures showed the footfall to the museum in the past two years had not been as high as hoped, with the £7 adult entry fee considered a major factor.

The museum’s manager Cathy Hakes spoke passionately about her plans for the museum, as she presented a five-year strategy for the tourist attraction.

“The Novium is two years old and with the best will in the world, we do still need development time.

“I’m not making excuses for the situation, however I think it needs to be noted that the Novium has been open two years.”

She went on to highlight Pallant House Gallery and Chichester Festival Theatre, both of which had been mentioned earlier in the meeting but which she said were older and more established institutions that themselves had difficulties when they were starting out.

The meeting was held in public after the Observer queried why the meeting was to be held behind closed doors.

To read a full report from today’s meeting, see Thursday’s paper (September 11).