FORMER Mayors of Dudley spoke out against council plans to move the borough’s glass collection from Broadfield House to Wordsley’s Red House Cone at a packed public meeting last night (Thursday July 23).
Stourbridge councillor Ian Kettle, who was Mayor from 2005-6, hit out at the controversial proposal to amalgamate the two museums at last night’s joint meeting of Brierley Hill and Stourbridge Area Commitees at Wordsley Community Centre, saying Dudley has “been failing” to showcase its “immense” glass collection for years.
His shock comments came after council bosses confirmed the feasibility study - currently being carried out by L&R Consulting - is only looking at whether it is possible to move the Broadfield glass collection to the Wordsley site, without considering other sites at this stage.
The outspoken Tory councillor told the audience crammed full of glass fans and experts: “If we want to create a national site for our glass at the moment - all we are looking at is inadequate. This collection - it’s immense.
“Broadfield House is in the wrong place, it isn’t big enough; the cone is too small - there’s no parking. it’s on a main road, it’s dangerous.
“We have got an enormous job to do - it’s going to take a lot of money and it’s going to take years to do what we want to do. Up till now we have been failing.”
Another former Mayor - Brierley Hill Labour councillor Margaret Wilson - questioned why Broadfield’s poor access for people with disabilities has not been dealt with before.
Cllr Wilson - who is herself disabled - said: “We can make it accessible.
“Broadfield House has got the facilities if we make it friendly to people with disabilities. It’s better than moving the glass.”
Meanwhile - Stourbridge councillor Malcolm Knowles, Mayor from 2004-5, spoke out about the brief given to the consultants when the study was commissioned - saying: “If anyone thinks the brief is too narrow we should be big enough to widen it.
He added: “We all want the same objective - we want our world class collection to be exhibited in a proper way.”
The findings from the first phase of the feasibility study will be presented to Dudley’s select committee on regeneration, culture and adult education on Monday September 7.