Council back track on Red House charges

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ADMISSION charges for Red House Museum will be introduced for a trial period this summer – despite a climbdown by councillors.

From June 1, adults will pay £2.50, children £1 and a family pass will cost £6. Kirklees passport holders will get in half price.

Original plans announced last week would have seen a £3.50 charge for adults, £1.50 for children and £8.50 for families, which would have taken effect from April 1.

Kirklees Council’s Labour cabinet decided to introduce the charges to increase the amount of revenue Red House brings in, so a £60,000 funding hole can be filled.

The move could raise more than £46,000, based on the estimated number of visitors last year. But it the council admitted it expects to lose 6,000 visitors a year because of the charges.

During a heated meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall, campaigners again slammed the council’s plans for Red House.

Imelda Marsden, a member of the Brontë Society, said not enough time had been spent on devising an action plan for its future.

She said: “There has been no discussion and you should give it another few months.”

Liversedge resident John Appleyard said: “If you introduce the charges then it will be lower income families who will be hit hardest. Education is very important and it should be equal for everyone.”

Coun Margaret Bates (Con, Liv and Gom) said the £60,000 budget shortfall was spread over all museums, not just Red House, and introducing charges was a ‘short term fix’.

Coun Jean Calvert, cabinet member for wellbeing and communities, said she had amended the charges to protect the long-term future of Red House.

“We’ve decided to look at charges in the interim before looking at a business plan to raise more funds,” she said.

“The charges are just the first part of a review into all our museums and galleries. We are looking at all of them, not just Red House. As a result, I’m going to bring the charges more in line with Oakwell Hall.”

A meeting to set up a Friends of Red House Group will take place at the museum on March 16.

The council still plans to cut the museum’s opening times from autumn.