A ROW over a petition has broken out between the council and campaigners fighting to save a prestigious glass museum from the axe.
Members of the Friends of Broadfield House Glass Museum have launched petitons to try and stop Dudley Council from pulling the plug on the world famous museum in Compton Drive.
But the group say they have been banned from displaying the documents in the threatened museum or at Wordsley’s Red House Glass Cone - where council museums bosses want to move the esteemed Broadfield collection to.
Campaigner Dr Graham Cooley said the Friends of the museum have also been told to take down newspaper clippings about the planned closure from their noticeboard.
Glass collector Dr Cooley said: “The question still remains as to who sanctioned the ban? If the council is serious on having open and frank discussions about the effective closure of the museum then it will have to listen to those who disagree with them and simply not try to stifle an honest debate.”
He urged people wishing to see or sign the petition to contact auctioneer and Antiques Roadshow regular Will Farmer at Fieldings Auctioneers in Stourbridge; or to sign the online version on the friendsofbroadfieldhouse.co.uk website.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley’s cabinet member for the environment and culture, said there was no ban on petitions being placed in either museum.
She said: "While we do not have an issue with a petition being placed in the museum, the petition which went up at Broadfield House inaccurately stated the council would imminently close the museum and this is not the case.
“No decision has been taken to close Broadfield House.
"The current position is that a feasibility study, which will involve all interested parties, is starting straight away.”
The £120,000 cost-saving closure scheme, which forms part of Dudley Council’s budget plans for the year ahead and which was approved by the cabinet on January 7, is expected to be rubber-stamped at the next full council meeting on March 2 and the museum could be closed by April 2010.
Although cllr Shakespeare has continued to insist: “Full council's decision will in no way pave the way for the closure of Broadfield House. Any plans for the future of the glass museum will be subject to full and open consultation with all interested parties."
Meanwhile - 94.7 per cent of people who have taken part in our online ballot on the Broadfield House closure proposal say they do not want to see the museum closed.