Big changes at Hall Place, including introduction of entry fee, due to be agreed tonight
PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 January 2019
Major changes to Hall Place in Bexley – including an entrance fee, new playground and model railway – are set to be signed off by councillors tonight, Monday, January 28.
Bexley Council is planning a revamp of Hall Place in a bid to attract more visitors to the historic mansion.
Plans being touted include an artisan market with chalets, as well as a new woodland-themed park, a visitors’ hub and shop.
In total it’s expected that £600,000 will be spent revitalising the listed attraction, which will in some part be offset by a new £2 charge for punters wanting to visit the gardens – which have traditionally been free.
Entrance into the house currently costs £10, and the council is considering introducing a fee of £1, £1,50 or £2 for a standard entry into the gardens, along with discounted tickets for under-16s.
People travelling from outside the borough would be charged more, with a standard garden ticket being proposed at £4.
The council is hoping that by investing in new facilities such as the play park and market, as well as adding an entrance fee, Hall Place will eventually be able to plug a £240k deficit and return a surplus.
According to a new report – set to be signed off by the council’s executive – it’s now thought that Welling and District Model Engineering Society model railway could relocate to the grounds.
Plans for a new shop and gallery have, however, upset some local artists who claim the new set-up would hamper their exhibitions.
A petition backed by more than 700 people has been submitted to the council, which has said it will revise its plans to have greater separation between the new shop and gallery.
Officers said in their new report: “In addition, we are looking at options for providing a purpose built hanging system, and potentially have found additional wall space that might be used going forward. We are also planning to install new lighting.
“We suggest that our revised proposals will ensure that the stables gallery can be used flexibly for both a gallery and a shop, with minimum changes from the current arrangements.
“The proposals set out in this report, particularly with regard to the capital investment proposals are intended to enhance the asset as a visitor attraction and improve its financial sustainability.”