January 28, 2013
Surrey County Council withdraws Runnymede Interpretation Centre funding.
Interpretation Centre at Runnymede now looks, once again, unlikely.
For decades it has been the aspiration of the Magna Carta Trust to see an Interpretation Centre at Runnymede as a fitting tribute to what Lord Denning once described as “the greatest constitutional document of all time”, which would provide for Britain and the World an exceptional educational experience for the understanding of what the Magna Carta stands for the rule of law, and human rights for future generations.
For the past two years it seemed it might be a possibility. However, although first Runnymede Borough Council’s bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for core funding was rejected, and then it was hoped that Surrey County Council would step in, this now seems unlikely to be completed for 2015. Even if it can’t be accomplished in time to open on 15 June 2015, surely there is time to raise the funds for a cornerstone which the Queen can be asked to lay then, more than two years from now, for the legacy that an Interpretation Centre would represent.
As this newsletter went to press, Susie Kemp, Deputy Chief Executive of Surrey County Council, sent the following comment for the Newsletter:
Surrey County Council has decided to take a new approach to supporting the Magna Carta celebrations in two years. Although the county council thought the visitor centre was a good idea in principle it has decided against donating £5 million to the project. Instead the authority will team up with Runnymede Borough Council, the National Trust, the community and other organisations to seek other ways of celebrating the 800 anniversary.
It remains committed to celebrating the historic date in style at the same time as encouraging tourists to visit the Runnymede area and will continue to work to ensure there is a lasting legacy.”