Campaigners Criticise ‘Unacceptable’ Museum Plans

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Dr Helen Fry, Iain Standen, Cllr Jason Charalambous

Campaigners aiming for a museum to be founded in a historic country house say they are not yet happy with developers’ plans.

Berkeley Homes have offered half the ground floor and a third of the basement of Trent Park house in Cockfosters for a museum commemorating its use in World War Two as a key base of war operations and a prison for high-ranking Nazi officers.

The remainder of the ground floor, basement, and the rest of the house will be converted into flats.

Cllr Jason Charalambous, who founded the museum campaign, said while it was a good start, the offer was unacceptable.

He said: “For a museum to succeed and thrive, and achieve its full potential as a national attraction, it needs to be of sufficient scale and therefore include the entire ground floor and basement as a minimum.

“A café and gift shop are essential features of any museum and these also need to be factored in together with sufficient exhibition space to tell the estate’s extraordinary history.

“Nothing less than public access through the mansion’s grand front entrance will do.

“We have come a long way since our campaign was launched just a year and a half ago, and we still have some way to go, however we believe we are on track to secure a positive future for Trent Park that will honour the extraordinary role it played in our history and leave a legacy that will benefit the public for generations to come.

“In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, we believe we are marching towards better days.”

Cllr Charalambous said they would continue to negotiate with Berkeley and Enfield Council on the future of the museum, and has called a public meeting to discuss the project.

This will take place at Christ Church, Cockfosters, on Thursday, June 16, with speakers including the CEO of Bletchley Park Iain Standen, WW2 veteran and secret listener Fritz Lustig, and Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, along with representatives from Berkeley Homes and the council.

Berkeley have said they intend to submit a planning application in the autumn, and Piers Clanford, managing director of Berkeley Homes in North East London, said they have engaged with the community on the project.

He said: “We have formed many great relationships over these months and welcome the rich knowledge, enthusiasm and support which has been offered in assisting the evolution of the proposals so far.

“Responding to feedback, we have committed to retaining access to the wider grounds, where people will now have greater access than ever before.

“The majority of people have responded extremely positively to the proposals we have recently consulted on.

“We share the desire to create permanent public access to the Mansion House and celebrate its history and contribution to world war two.

“However, we want be sure that what is delivered has longevity and will last and be accessible to the community for years to come. With this in mind, we are currently engaged with specialists and local groups to understand what could be deliverable here and develop proposals together”.


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