First steps towards museum take over

Dewsbury Museum, Crow Nest Park. (d23081122)

Dewsbury Museum, Crow Nest Park. (d23081122)

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A newly-formed community group said it is making the first steps towards taking over the running of the former Dewsbury Museum building.

The Friends of Dewsbury Park Mansion launched earlier this month to explore whether it could transform the site into a community leisure, entertainment, social and wellbeing venue.

It followed Kirklees Council’s decision to close the museum, in Crow Nest Park, on November 7, marking an end to its 120 year history.

Group spokeswoman Jax Lovelock said the Friends had taken a big step forward by securing backing from community organisations, individuals, Dewsbury councillors and Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Paula Sherriff.

And she said the council had designated an officer to work with the group.

The spokeswoman said: “I don’t underestimate the difficulties ahead. But I feel as though we are now on our way and we can now start the serious work – all the research we need to do into finance, a business plan, the building, repairs and so on.

“A basic requirement is that the project finds a way to generate enough income to run and maintain the building and lay on activities for the community. We’ll also need to find a substantial grant to repair and redevelop the interior.”

The council announced the Grade II-listed museum would be axed, under cost-cutting plans to save £531,000 from its museums and galleries budget, in July.

Red House Museum in Gomersal will also close on Wednesday, December 21.

It will have a final Christmas celebration on Sunday, December 11 from noon until 4pm.

The authority said a review of all museums staff would also take place next year but it would not confirm how many jobs could be under threat.

It is inviting expressions of interest for anyone who wants to take on the sites and will also be exploring community asset transfers and disposal.

The next meeting of the Friends of Dewsbury Park Mansion is on Tuesday, November 22 at 10am.

Email jax.lovelock@dewsburymansion.uk for details.