Axe over museum opening hours

Sights and scenes from Shibden Hall and Shibden Park, Halifax as seen in the winter.
Sights and scenes from Shibden Hall and Shibden Park, Halifax as seen in the winter.

SHIBDEN Hall and Bankfield Museum could close on weekdays due to a shortage of visitors.

That is one of the options Calderdale Council is looking at in a bid to save money.

A thorough review has been ordered of the two attractions along with the Piece Hall visitor centre and the Smith Art Gallery in Brighouse.

It will mirror a review of Calderdale library opening hours, which aims to save £150,000 a year.

Museums and galleries cost about £1.4 million a year to operate but mid-week users tend to be limited to school groups and organised trips.

Consultation on the budget earlier this year showed museums to be well down the public’s list of priorities.

Nearly 60 per cent of respondents said the museums should be closed or reduced to protect other front-line services.

The council’s community services spokeswoman, Pauline Nash, said there were no plans to close any libraries or museums.

“But we need to look at the cost of these services in details and consider reducing opening hours where use is minimal.”

Councillor Nash (Lib-Dem, Skircoat) said the reviews were unlikely to begin until after council elections in May.

The council plans to eventually save £100,000 a year by raising the price of museum education visits and related services in April.

* Do you think closing the museums during the week is a good idea? Email: Yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk