Plans to convert old cottage into Gt Wakering heritage centre

A dilapidated old cottage in Great Wakering could be transformed into a heritage centre, if a petition from residents is successful.

Plans are underway to restore a cottage adjacent to Great Wakering Community Centre in High Street.

The cottage has been empty for many years and needs extensive repairs, but resident Peter Bishop believes it would make an ideal heritage centre.

He said: “The cottage is unused and pretty derelict. Some people think it would make an ideal heritage centre so I started the petition to see if anyone else is interested. I started it on Saturday hoping to get about 100 signatures and have about 50 already.

“I’ll be trying to speak to our MP and councillors to see if they can help.

“We have people that have a lot of artefacts in their homes that could be used. There is lots of old farm equipment and things from both world wars. I went to see the Foulness Heritage Centre that has just opened again after two years and was very impressed.”

The petition says: “The old village of Great Wakering has a long history going back a 1,000 years. It’s about time we had our own Heritage Centre much like the one on Foulness Island.

“A heritage centre or museum is a public facility – typically a museum or visitor centre that is primarily dedicated to the presentation of historical and cultural information about a Great Wakering and its people, and often also including, to some degree, the area’s natural history.”

Mr Bishop, who is currently writing a book on the 1953 floods for the 70th anniversary of the event next year, added: “I believe the community centre belongs to trustees. The community centre used to be a school and I believe the cottage may have been used by a caretaker back in the 1970s.

“Foulness Heritage Centre got lottery funding so if there is enough interest we can look into that. It’s not going to happen overnight but there are a lot of retired people interested and some younger people.”

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org and search Great Wakering Heritage Centre.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter