CAMPAIGNERS fear vital decisions on the future of the borough’s world famous glass collection will be made behind closed doors.
Dudley Council’s cabinet will tonight (Wednesday December 9) debate the next stage of a consultation process on the future of the collection which is currently displayed at the Broadfield House Museum in Kingswinford.
Campaigners from the Save Our Glass Heritage group claimed victory in October after a full meeting of the council voted to accept a resolution which guaranteed the museum would remain open until a new home for the collection was created.
The resolution also promised talks about the future of the collection would “fully engage local experts, glass enthusiasts and other interested parties” including The Friends of Broadfield House.
Cllr Pete Lowe, who proposed the resolution, says after a meeting about the future of the collection on Thursday December 3, he now has concerns about the consultation process.
Cllr Lowe said: “The meeting had more council officers than elected representatives or community groups, at the moment the council leadership is listening to officers more than the community.”
Jan Hendry, from the Save Our Glass Heritage campaign, said: “We are suspicious of what they are doing, are we just going to be sidelined and ingnored?”
News the council’s bid for the Stuart Crystal shop and buildings at Red House Glass Cone has been accepted will do little to allay fears the council is determined to relocate the collection to the Wordsley site.
The council says the deal will allow expansion at the site regardless of the outcome of the current feasibility study into the future Broadfield House.
In a report for the cabinet meeting, council officers are recommending the next stage of the study should focus on developing detailed proposals and costings for moving the collection to the Cone after the successful purchase of the Stuart Crystal buildings.
Cllr Lowe, while welcoming any development at the Cone, says alternative sites should be included in the next stage of the study to ensure a move there would be the best option.
He said: “We need to look at alternative sites and revenue streams, the community will never forgive Dudley Council if the Cone is the only option they explore.”
“We have got a family of glass here and we need to find the best place for it, that means we need to view a number of properties.”