Hours cull at Dewsbury Museum

HOURS CULL: Dewsbury Museum could close for two days a week in winter. (23081122)
HOURS CULL: Dewsbury Museum could close for two days a week in winter. (23081122)
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DEWSBURY Museum could close one day a week all year round and an additional day during winter.

That’s if cost-cutting plans drawn up by Kirklees Council are approved in the new year.

The move, which will also see all council-run museums closing an hour early in the winter months, spells job losses for the borough.

In a document to museums and galleries staff, the council says the closures reflect lower visitor numbers in the winter and after dark.

The document also describes plans to close Oakwell Hall Country Park, in Birstall, and Red House Museum, in Gomersal, for five days a week in winter.

The council is in talks with the local government union Unison, which is consulting with affected members.

Unison’s lead steward in wellbeing and integration Heather Ellis said: “We are at the very first stage of the restructuring and we are of course very concerned for our members.”

A decision is expected early next year, with planned changes expected to come into force by the end of February.

A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “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.”

The spokesman said in last year’s budget discussions there was all-party agreement in looking at reducing museum hours.