GLASS campaigners were celebrating today (Tuesday October 13) after Dudley Council voted to suspend plans to close world famous Broadfield House Glass Museum.
The council agreed to halt plans to close the renowned Kingswinford museum until an alternative site for the borough’s treasured glass collection has been found, after Lye councillor Pete Lowe put forward a motion calling for a rethink.
There were fears the Compton Drive museum could be closed by April 2010, but the decision should now ensure “not one piece of glass is moved from Broadfield House Glass Museum until a new site has been found, comissioned and built”.
The decision also means any profits made from the sale of the Broadfield site be ring-fenced for the establishment of a new museum; that glass fans and interested groups such as the Friends of Broadfield House will be donsulted in the future; that external funding will be sourced for support a new museum plan; and that a cross party working group will be set up to help further the vision for a world class glass centre.
Dudley Council leader, Councillor Anne Millward, told last night’s full council meeting: “The glass museum will not close on my watch until an alternative site has been found.
“It was never the intention that the glass was going to be put in a transit van and stuck in a lay-by.
“There is no reason whatsoever why we can't have that vision, that foresight to look at having a world class facility.”
Members of the Save Our Glass Heritage campaign were overjoyed at the verdict.
Cllr Lowe said afterwards: “It’s excellent news. People are in a very celebratory mood.
“Last night shows people can actually influence things and it was certainly a success for people power.”
Dudley South MP Ian Pearson and Stourbridge MP Lynda Waltho both welcomed the news.
Ian said: " I am delighted the council has adopted this sensible strategy and the future of Broadfield House looks secure.
“It's a remarkable victory for the campaigners who have worked so hard.
“Our focus must now turn to identifying and funding a long-term and improved home for our world-leading glass collection."
Lynda added: “It’s absolutely fantastic news. It’s entirely the sensible way forward. It’s a victory for the Broadfield House campaigners and the Stourbridge glass collection.”
TV glass expert Andy McConnell was also bowled over at the victory, adding: “It’s completely brilliant news. I think this will now galvanise the glass community.”
A meeting is now scheduled to take place later this month between the Friends of Broadfield House, Dudley’s chief executive John Polychronakis and deputy leader Cllr Les Jones, the borough’s cabinet member for regeneration, to discuss the glass collection’s future.
And the results of L&R Consulting’s continuing feasibility study, looking at whether the collection could successfully be housed at Wordsley’s Red House Glass Cone, will be unveiled at the council’s December cabinet meeting.