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Campaign launched to save Wolverhampton museum

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 23, 2014

By John Butterworth

Bantock House Museum, Wolverhampton

Bantock House Museum, Wolverhampton

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MORE than 2,100 people have signed up to a Facebook campaign to save a Black Country museum.

Joanne Preen has launched Save Bantock House from Closing on the social media site after Wolverhampton Council said the popular attraction could close unless a cheaper way is found to run it.

The local authority, which must save £123 million in the next five years, would save £197,000 over the same period if it closed the historic house.

The council is looking at 165 savings proposals but a report on the budget cuts said there was a risk that the 1730s house, which opened as a museum in 1948, could close and be left empty.

Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: "Bantock House Museum is a popular facility and we are determined to protect it – and our other services – as much as we can in the face of massive grant cuts from Government.

"It's too early to say what these changes could mean for the museum, but if the savings proposal is approved, we would carry out a full appraisal which would look at all options for the future management of Bantock House, such as the possibility of working with external partners and investigating external funding opportunities.

"In particular, we'd look to build upon the museum's already very successful assets, such as its popular café and excellent location within Bantock Park.

"I would be keen to hear suggestions from local organisations or other interested parties who may have their own ideas about how Bantock House Museum could be run in future. I'd also like to reassure customers that we're determined to do all we can to ensure that it continues to be a popular attraction for many years to come."

David Austwick, chairman of the Friends of Bantock, is optimistic about the museum's future. He said they were in talks with the council about reducing costs but ensuring the move doesn't destroy the services the house provides.

The Friends, who already raise £4,000 a year and put on 21 events at the popular attraction, are determined to try and keep it open.

"Bantock House is a gem which has been left to the people of Wolverhampton," said David.

"We are looking at many options but we would also welcome any ideas from members of the public."

People can put their views by logging on to www.wolver hampton.gov.uk/consultations

What do you think about the threat to Bantock House's future? Email your views to editor@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or log on to www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk or write to us at 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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