Architect calls for friendlier front for Novium

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THE NOVIUM Museum in Chichester goes free next month, but a qualified architect and lecturer believes more needs to be done to entice new visitors.

David Anstis, 80, of Somerstown, was the driving force behind the creation of the City Walls Walk.

He believes the exterior of the Novium is not doing enough to attract people and has sketched a design (pictured) of how it could look.

Now, he is inviting others to follow his example and create their own designs.

“I thought a picture is worth a million words and people can focus on that,” he said.

“Almost everyone I meet and discuss the museum with agrees with me and I say ‘why not write in?’.”

He wanted to emphasise he was not against modern design, but found the Novium to be unfriendly and ‘antagonistic’ in its current design.

“I like a modern design vocabulary and the Festival Theatre is the outstanding example of a piece of modern design that got dropped into Chichester before the inhabitants were probably aware of what was happening,” he said.

“I think this idea of saying ‘we’re not getting the footfall and we’re not getting the visitors, therefore we will eliminate the entrance fee is seeing things from the wrong point of view.”

Mr Anstis has lived in Chichester more than 30 years and said he encountered opposition when he created the original Walls Walk scheme, yet it has now become part of the ‘Chichester city experience’.

Mr Anstis said he was disappointed not to be contacted by any district councillors about improving the museum, after a letter of his was published in the Observer last year.

A council spokeswoman said: “We always welcome any ideas and suggestions from residents and visitors about The Novium Museum.

“We are currently working on further improving the customer experience and although the museum has won a number of architectural awards, we are also looking at how visitors are greeted and directed when they arrive at the building.

“Our aim is to encourage people to return again and again, and so we are determined to provide customers with a first-class experience.”