WOLVERHAMPTON council are stressing that, despite reports to the contrary, they are determined to secure a future for the popular Bantock House Museum, despite massive spending cuts across the entire city.
Wolverhampton City Council needs to save £123m over the next five years, and among its plans to recoup the cash is one to introduce an alternative operating model for Bantock House Museum.
Councillor Elias Mattu, the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: "People may have seen headlines in the local media suggesting that 'the axe is set to fall' on Bantock House.
"Let me be very clear – in accordance with the proposals being put forward, there are no plans to close Bantock House Museum. In fact, we are determined to do all we can to ensure it continues to be a popular attraction for many years to come.
"The proposal which the council has put forward is to develop an alternative way of running Bantock House, one which would safeguard its future by building on its successful assets, increasing income and reducing running costs."
The plans, say the council, would see further development of the Museum's popular tea rooms and catering facilities, and seek out fundraising and sponsorships to bring in cash. They aim to reduce running costs by developing partnerships with other organisations and bringing in volunteers.
The council also hope to expand Bantock House's events programme, to attract more visitors and generate additional income.
"We will carry out a full appraisal which will look at all options for Bantock House Museum," said Councillor Mattu, "and we're also very open to other ideas from members of the public, other partners and stakeholders which could help ensure local people continue to benefit from this excellent facility.
"In particular, we're keen to work with campaigners who have been passionately showing their support for Bantock House Museum over the last few weeks.
"The scale of the financial challenge the council is facing as a result of the massive cuts that are being made by Government cannot be ignored, but people should be reassured that we'll exhaust every avenue as we try to secure a bright future for Bantock House Museum.
"It is a very important facility for the people of Wolverhampton and we all must work together to do all we can to safeguard it."
Members of the public will be invited to contribute their own suggestions about how Bantock House Museum could be run in future at one of three special consultation events which will be held over the next few weeks.