Five years on from its inception, Southend Council is on the lookout for an architect to develop a £49 million (US$59.6 million, €54 million) museum to house the Saxon King’s relics, launching a £1.3 million (US$1.6 million, €1.44 million) bid to find a suitable candidate for the UK project.
First touted in 2011, the council is looking for an architect-led design team to create a museum to display the golden relics discovered in the unknown Saxon King’s burial site in 2003.
In addition to the Saxon King’s treasures, the proposed development will also house important local discoveries such as those from the 17th century shipwreck of HMS London.
According to the tender, a key element of the design will be a focus on providing a cohesive and interactive visitor experience. Phase one will include the car park and other elements aligned with the car park floors. Phase two will then incorporate the core museum elements alongside a restaurant, café and planetarium.
“The tender is the next step in this exciting project and further demonstration of our clear commitment for a game-changing new museum for Southend, helping to transform the town into an all-year-round visitor destination,” said councillor Ann Holland, speaking to Echo News.
“This tender is about moving the project onto the next stage and was budgeted for the current year as part of the 2016/17 budget.
“This will complement the area’s existing attractions and forthcoming regeneration projects. We are passionate about the museum and ambitious that it will be a significant visitor attraction for our region.”
Some have branded the plans a waste of money, with campaign group Saxon King in Priory Park calling for an alternate mini-historical village to be built next to the burial site as opposed to the multi-million pound museum development.