Work is due to start early next year on the new collections, digitisation and research centre for the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Shinfield.

Carter Jonas acted for NHM in gaining Wokingham Borough Council’s resolution to grant permission for the scheme at Thames Valley Science Park at the planning committee’s March 13 meeting.

The NHM holds more than 80 million specimens, spanning 4.6 million years, making it one of the most extensive natural history collections in the world. Currently, exhibits are displayed in museums in South Kensington in London and Tring in Hertfordshire. 

The new centre, funded by £201 million which supports the museum’s Unlocked Programme is due to complete in 2027 and be fully operational by 2031.

Doug Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, said: “This new facility allows the Natural History Museum to safely store its irreplaceable collections for generations to come. Once built, the centre will help find solutions to the planetary emergency using collections and research to answer the big questions of today including maintaining food security, improving biodiversity and addressing climate change.”

Nicky Brock, partner at Carter Jonas in Oxford said, The Natural History Museum cares for one of the largest collections of specimens globally, spanning billions of years. We are very pleased to have assisted the Museum in its plans, leading up to its 150th anniversary in 2031, to secure the future of this extremely important collection.”

The team includes FCB Studios, Ecological Planning & Research, Abley Letchford Partnership and CPC Project Services LLP.

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