Museums closed for quarter of year under cost cuts

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MUSEUMS run by a Yorkshire council could close for a quarter of the year to cut costs if plans due to be discussed shortly are approved.

Officials at Kirklees have drawn up proposals to shut cultural centres across the district in December, January and February.

The move would affect sites including: Tolson Museum in Moldgreen, which traces the history of Huddersfield from Roman times, Red House Museum in Gomersal, an 1830s home and Oakwell Hall in Birstall, a stately home. The other two are Bagshaw Museum in Batley and Dewsbury Museum in Crow Nest Park.

But Bradford councillor, Chris Greaves, said he thought the savings would be minimal and might damage Huddersfield’s tourism potential. He said: “It doesn’t really seem to make sense because so many standing charges would remain.”

A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “At this time of year the council begins the process of setting the budget for the coming year as part of its three-year budget plan.

“The need for changes to opening hours was accepted last year by councillors, for implementation in 2012.

“To meet that timetable, the discussions with staff and trade unions need to begin now.

“There is a continuing need for us to achieve efficiencies from across the whole range of services and councillors have some difficult decisions to make.

“As part of last year’s budget settlement, there was all party agreement to look at the option of reducing museum opening hours.

“We know that different things are important to different people, and to help us consider our options about where we most need to spend and save, we have asked people to tell us more about their priorities for public services.”