Campaigners say why threatened museums should be saved

Friends of Red House chairwoman Jacqueline Ryder.

Friends of Red House chairwoman Jacqueline Ryder.

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Passionate campaigners have told Kirklees Council why they think two threatened museums should be saved from the axe.

Under budget cuts the historic Red House Museum in Gomersal and Dewsbury Museum in Crow Nest Park face closure.

But people have come out in force to oppose the idea before the deadline for residents to share their views with the council ended on Sunday.

Around 1,700 people have put their name to a petition to keep the Gomersal museum open, and the Friends of Red House submitted a report which gave 20 reasons why the site should not shut.

Chairwoman Jacqueline Ryder said: “We were always hopeful that the council will recognise the importance of Red House not just in North Kirklees, but for Yorkshire and, with the Brontë connection, internationally as well.”

Dewsbury East councillor Cathy Scott (Lab) also started a campaign for the museum in Crow Nest Park to remain open.

She has called on the council to extend its September decision deadline so that a focus group can come up with a plan to keep it funded.

“I have been inundated with people wanting to help to save the museum,” said Coun Scott. “People were not anticipating this.”

Kirklees Council owns six museums and heritage sites, including Dewsbury Museum and Red House in Gomersal. But as government funds have been withdrawn, the council needs to save £351,000 from its museums budget by next April, and could potentially close the two sites.

Adele Poppleton, Head of Active and Creative Communities said: “We are currently collating the responses but will not have a final figure for the number submitted until the end of the week.

“We will then analyse all the responses, before preparing a report to cabinet, which will be discussed on September 20, 2016.

“At this meeting, the council’s cabinet will look at the responses to the consultation, alongside financial analysis and other information, before making a final decision about the future of the Museums and Galleries service.

“If the decision is made to withdraw the museums service from some buildings, then the council will be inviting expressions of interest from anyone who wants to take over.”