‘THE NOVIUM does not pay its way’ – that was the message from a city councillor.
Speaking at a meeting of Chichester City Council, Cllr Michael Woolley said the museum had 640 visitors in December, with estimated figures already being revised down from the 60,000 a year originally hoped for. “At just over 600 visitors a month you can do the maths,” he said.
A Chichester District Council spokeswoman said a total of 24,200 people had visited the museum and Tourist Information Centre in its first six months.
Of those, 10,668 visited the Novium. Based on Mr Woolley’s estimated running costs of £500,000 a year, that would make the cost per visitor £23.43. Admission is £7 or £6 for concessions.
When asked if Novium paid its way, Cllr Woolley said: “I can assure you the Novium does not pay its way.” Asked who did pay for the museum, he replied: “The district’s taxpayers.”
A total of £7m was originally invested in the Novium however, at the time, the council was hoping to claw back much of its investment through the sale of the former site.
Cllr Martyn Bell said it would be interesting to see a comparison with the previous museum’s December figures. The district said visitors had increased by more than 60 per cent.
“In December 2012, almost double the number of people visited the Novium than had visited the old museum and we had an excellent response to our special events,” said the spokeswoman. “However, all attractions expect to see a drop in figures around this time of year.”
She said recent events had been ‘very successful’ with pre-sales of a new lecture series strong.
“The merger of the Tourist Information Centre and the museum is new and we are trying different approaches to encourage as many customers as possible,” she added.
“Although residents cannot access the museum for free, we do offer an annual pass and a number of discount days. Bringing together two new services at a time when visits to museums nationally have dipped would always mean we have to work even harder to achieve the success we expect, but we have made great progress, are open to suggestions and we expect by the year-end to see the range of new initiatives paying off.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Does the Novium offer visitors good value for money? Have your say in the voting panel on the right, and leave your comments below.