Museums closure ‘a consideration’

VISITOR DOWNTURN Red House Museum in Gomersal.
VISITOR DOWNTURN Red House Museum in Gomersal.

The closure of museums ‘must be considered’ in the face of budget cuts, says a Kirklees officer.

Richard Butterfield, Kirklees Council’s museums and galleries manager, told the council’s development and environment scrutiny panel closing sites across Kirklees had to be considered following cuts of £550,000 by 2015-2016.

The meeting followed a council report which revealed visitor figures are down for every Kirklees museum by 25 to 40 per cent.

The committee met last Thursday to discuss the future of the museums, which include Oakwell Hall, Dewsbury Museum, Bagshaw Museum in Batley and Red House Museum in Gomersal.

Mr Butterfield said: “Unfortunately, closure of sites has to be something that is considered.”

He said other considerations were sharing facilities or partly selling off museums.

He said: “Our buildings are generally in good order.

“Red House would benefit from investment but is in good shape; Dewsbury has a problem with one of the ceilings which needs attention.

“Bagshaw is in good order – we spent some money on it recently.

“We need in invest in the visitor experience.”

Chairman Ken Sims asked for a report on each museum’s specialisms, whether income could be improved and the state of the fabric of the buildings.