A rooftop garden and a street-level “plaza” feature in plans to revamp Hereford’s main museum and art gallery.

The Grade II listed Victorian building on Broad Street is due to become the “Marches Experience”, the centrepiece of a multi-million-pound programme of improvements to the city over the coming years.

A feasibility report prepared for Herefordshire Council by a local architecture practice sets out a range of design options for the project, each featuring a rooftop garden in some form.

“A key feature of the proposed project is a culture trail on the roof of the historic building offering views over the city,” it says – while prioritising pedestrians in front of the building “could re-establish Broad Street as a hub of cultural activity”.

The new attraction would become “a national destination” drawing visitors into the city centre and showcasing the county’s heritage collections such as the Viking-era Herefordshire Hoard, with the means to become economically self-sufficient, the report says.

The £15 million project cost is to be split three ways between the government’s Stronger Towns Fund, the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Herefordshire Council’s own resources.

Council cabinet members are this week expected to approve £1.5 million to fund the detailed design of the project and ensure it passes planning and regulatory hurdles.


Meanwhile the library currently in the same building will be moved to a new learning centre in the Maylords Orchard shopping centre, which the council bought for £4 million in June 2020.

Councillors are now also set to okay £250,000 to work up detailed plans for this.

Both projects now have to present full business cases for by June 2022 in order to access government funding.

But the museum feasibility report describes this timescale as “very ambitious”, and warns the council’s likely non-specialist project managers “risk serious oversight of subtleties and specialties required for a project of this magnitude”.

“Very low current staffing levels” at the council also mean “limited resource able to engage with the project and then subsequently deliver the revenue-generating services required to sustain it”, the report adds.

The Maylords Orchard feasibility report meanwhile points out that the project to relocate the library “is vital to enable the museum project to proceed”.