Monday, June 19, 2006

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am a great supporter of the 'constructive opposition' approach, and in the last week I have been pleased to offer cross-party support on an important issue under my culture portfolio. Shortly before the Council meeting last week I discovered the Council had agreed to an emergency cash grant to the 'Firepower' museum in Woolwich, which is experiencing financial difficulties at the moment. Firepower is the national museum of the Royal Artillery regiment, who have been based in Woolwich for nearly 300 years, but are moving out next year. I was therefore rather alarmed to see that the museum seemed to be under threat.

At Council I asked the Deputy Leader for an assurance that the Council would do all it could to ensure the future of this important part of the Borough's heritage, and was pleased that he willingly agreed to do so. All too often Greenwich Council seems to disregard our rich history and heritage, so this was a welcome change. I have also spoken to the management of the museum, who are equally encouraged by the Council's stance so far.

With the regeneration of Woolwich and increased development in the old Woolwich Arsenal buildings around the museum, it should be possible for Firepower to attact enough visitors to support itself in the years ahead, but in the meantime it is right that we should offer them a helping hand. I appeared on our local radio station Time FM at the weekend to discuss the issue, and used the opportunity to urge local people to vote with their feet and visit. Have a look at the museum's website here.

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