A TOP Government Minister has warned council chiefs not to take risks with Stourbridge’s treasured glass collection as news of their museums shake-up plan reached the House of Commons.
Culture Minister Barbara Follett MP issued the warning after Stourbridge MP Lynda Waltho raised concern about Dudley Council’s plan to close Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford and move the glass collection to Wordsley’s Red House Glass Cone.
The Minister from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport urged the council not to implement unnecessary closures and to listen to the community before making any final decisions.
She said she hoped the council would “make a considered decision that leads to the best possible outcome for the potential of the museums in the area”.
And she added that she hoped the “treasure of a collection” would be kept together and made as accessible as possible to the community.
Lynda Waltho MP said afterwards: “It was important that Dudley Council were held to account in the House of Commons and I welcome the Minister’s warning to the council not to take risks with the collection.
“It is vital that local people are involved and that experts are consulted.
“There are still far too many unanswered questions for my liking, and the council continues to be evasive and misleading in their communications with the Friends of Broadfield House.
“This issue is far from over and I will continue to put pressure on the council to the best of my ability to make sure the collection does not suffer in any way.”
The debate in the Commons received cross-party support - with Tory MP Patrick Cormack adding his support for the museum.
He said: “It is crucial that this internationally famous collection be kept together and displayed, preferably in the historic setting that it already enjoys. I will do anything I can to help.”
Lynda has now invited the South Staffordshire MP and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts and Heritage to visit the Compton Drive museum and see the glass collection for themselves.
Councillor David Stanley, the council’s cabinet member for environment and culture, said no decision would be made on closing Broadfield House until a feasibility study has been carried out.
He added: “We’ve appointed consultants to do the necessary work regarding people’s feelings.
“There are difficulties at Broadfield House and we’re trying to make the glass collection easier for people to view.”
The first phase of the study looking at whether it’s feasible to move the glass collection to the cone is expected to be completed by the end of July/early August.
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO LYNDA WALTHO'S COMMENTS ON BROADFIELD IN THE COMMONS - courtesy of BBC Radio WM: