Town Hall Cultural Centre and Museum Project nears construction phase

Since our last update in December 2023,the Council’s Cultural Centre and Museum project has progressed significantly and is nearing the point where construction can begin. At the meeting of Full Council on 19 March 2024, Councillors made the decision to enter into a contract with construction company Stepnell to undertake the required building work.

Survey work is scheduled to start in April 2024 and the aim is to open the facility by March 2026. You can view a walkthrough video of the architects’ plans for the completed building on our YouTube channel.

Effects of the construction on the surrounding area

A summary of the developments you can expect to see as a result of the construction of the new centre can be found below.

Road closures

Some road closures will be necessary in order to allow for the preparation of the site for construction. This will require road closure applications to be made. You can find information about all of the road closure applications as they are received by the Council on the highway closures page.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to the construction site or its impact on the highway, please contact the construction team Project Manager via email

Bottle banks and clothing bank

The development of the site will also require the relocation of the Council’s bottle banks and the Salvation Army clothing bank. We ask that residents take their glass bottles and jars to alternative sites at the Rechabite slip, Old Town (Nowhere car park), Telegraph or directly to the waste site.

The clothes bank will also be relocated before works start. The new location is yet to be confirmed.

What has happened since our previous update

The following steps have been taken since our previous update:


Revised plans for the refurbishment and renovation of the Town Hall building on St Mary’s were granted planning permission at the meeting of Full Council on 16 November 2023. Councillors also granted Listed Building Consent at the same meeting, which was then approved by the Secretary of State on 24 November 2023.

Recruitment of trustees

We have selected the first group of trustees who will establish the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which is needed to run the Cultural Centre and Museum under a long-term lease from the Council.

Applications were received from 15 people, of whom 10 were interviewed. As a result of a selection process involving Council, Arts Council England, and Isles of Scilly Museum Association representatives, the following people were appointed to join Ann Tudor, Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Museum Association, on the new CIO board:

  • Jeff Knott
  • Judy Niner
  • Justin Richards

Biographies for each of the trustees can be found at the bottom of this news item.

It has been agreed by the project board that the recruitment process will remain open and that during 2024 a community forum will be established to generate more on-island interest in trustee positions. The initial cohort of trustees will have an on-island induction into the project in April 2024.


On 22 November 2023, government announced that the Council would receive £6million towards the Cultural Centre and Museum project. A decision regarding the funding the Council has applied for from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is expected before the end of March 2024. This funding would complete the funding package for the project, enabling works to start.

A summary of the capital funding sought for the project is set out in the table below.



Levelling Up Fund


National Lottery Heritage Fund


Shared Prosperity Fund


Arts Council England


Council of the Isles of Scilly


Local Enterprise Partnership




The Council originally committed to a contribution of £1,000,000. However, receipt of other funding streams has reduced the initial contribution required to £382,123. The remaining £617,877 will be retained to meet any unforeseen costs. In addition to the amount stated above, the Council has also committed to leasing the Town Hall building itself at no charge and a significant amount of officer time.

The Council will retain ownership of the Town Hall building and the CIO will become a tenant on a rolling 25-year lease, with responsibility for the management and operations of the whole facility, including the museum, café and community hall. The ongoing costs of running the facility will be met by the CIO.

Councillor Tim Dean, Lead Member for Housing and Corporate Estate, said: I’m pleased to be able to update the community on the progress made on this important project. Whilst we are eager to provide the Isles of Scilly Museum Association with a replacement venue to display their collection as soon as possible, I’m also keen that the community can once again access a large indoor venue in the heart of town. The Town Hall has been closed for community events since 2019, but the need for such a flexible space on St Mary’s has not diminished in this time.

The upgraded hall will provide improved facilities for the wide range of community activities which previously took place in the venue, including live music performances, exhibitions, craft fairs, cinema and theatre. This exciting new space will support both resident artists and performers, as well as visiting companies. I’m delighted that the first set of trustees for the new organisation has been identified and I’m sure you will join me in wishing them luck in their new role.”

Next steps

Formation of the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

The registration process for the new CIO has begun now that the first group of trustees has been identified.

Whilst the museum and cultural centre is under construction, the Council will be the accountable body for the grants and the building work. The CIO trustees will focus on how they intend to run the facility once it is handed over. This will include:

  • Registering and establishing the CIO
  • Recruiting CIO staff
  • Preparing for opening, including marketing and branding; business plan management and ongoing fundraising
  • Further development of museum interpretation proposals.

Old museum site

Once all the grant funding is secured and the contract for the works to the Town Hall has been signed, attention will turn to the future options for the Old Museum site. The existing barriers in front of the building have now been removed as the site has been assessed as safe, subject to an agreed monthly inspection regime by the Council’s Operational Services.

Further information

If you have any other questions about the project, or would like further information, please email 

Trustee biographies

Ann Tudor

Photo of Ann Tudor

Ann became a trustee of the Isles of Scilly Museum Association in November 2022 and joined the Project Board as a museum representative. She became a co-chair of the Museum Association in March 2023 and has led two of the Project Board working groups – business planning and governance.

Ann is a chartered accountant and has held several charity trusteeships during her career as well as acting for charity clients. She shares her time between living on Scilly and in Shrewsbury. When her grandsons visit, they are the fifth generation of her family to holiday on Scilly.

Jeff Knott

photo of Jeff Knott

Jeff lives near Huntingdon and has been visiting Scilly since he was 8. He has been to Scilly for most of the 30 years since, missing just a few years for university and while studying in Australia. In recent years he has been able to add a third generation of Knotts to Scillonian visitors, with daughter Erin (9) on her fifth trip and Joel (1) who will take his first trip to the islands in 2024.

Jeff has worked in nature conservation for the RSPB for the last 16 years, with the last 10 in director roles covering policy and operations. This has included running visitor centres, including Sherwood Forest. He is just about to move to a new executive role at another charity, Cats Protection.

Judy Niner

Photo of Judy Niner

Judy lives near Oxford and is a fundraising and development consultant, primarily in the heritage and cultural sector.  She started her career at the BBC, before moving to the Science Museum and from there to the National Trust’s Waddesdon Manor.

She started a consultancy business in 2000 ( and has run that ever since, working with museums and other organisations across the UK.

For 10 years Judy was chair of trustees for Cogges Manor Farm in Witney - a beautiful historic Manor House and farm which Oxfordshire County Council had bought and run as a farm museum since the 1980s. They had closed it because it was losing too much money.  The trust was set up to reopen it, and it is now a thriving operation. She has also been a trustee of the Roald Dahl Museum and the Waterways Trust.

Her introduction to the Isles of Scilly was on holiday in 2009 with her daughter and friends. Judy has wanted to return ever since and is delighted to have this opportunity to offer her experience.

Justin Richards

Photo of Justin Richards

Justin lives on St Mary’s with his wife and youngest son.  He has previously spent time living on Bryher and St Agnes, although originally hails from Yorkshire.  Justin has spent the past 20+ years in leadership roles within various commercial organisations across a diverse range of sectors and geographies. 

He is a qualified solicitor and works as a consultant for several of the large international law firms, being sent out to clients whenever they have a need.  He is currently on assignment as Company Secretary and Legal Director for a FTSE listed company. 


Logos for UK Government, Council of the Isles of Scilly, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Cornwall Council, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, Architectural Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Isles of Scilly Museum, Levelling Up, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Shared Prosperity Fund, Good Growth and Association of Independent Museums






Publishing date: 
Friday, 22 March, 2024