GLASS campaigners have been left stunned after Dudley’s finance chief labelled a world famous Kingswinford glass museum a “pet project” at a crunch meeting about its fate.

Councillor Anne Millward, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for finance, made the shock comments at last night’s full council meeting (Monday March 2) - where Tory councillors rubber-stamped controversial budget proposals, which look likely to pave the way for the closure of the internationally renowned Broadfield House Glass Museum.

Opposition councillors and glass enthusiasts later slammed her remarks as “patronising” and a “disgrace” - but the Gornal councillor (pictured) said she would “stand by every word”.

Brierley Hill councillor Rachel Harris said: “Broadfield House is not a ‘pet project’ for me - it’s an important issue that could have a substantial impact on my ward. Moving an internationally acclaimed and renowned glass collection to the Red House Glass Cone will add more burden to an already dangerous stretch of road - and it’s going to cost you a lot more than just capital.”

Kingswinford councillor Dave Tyler said: “Referring to the museum as a ‘pet project’ of the Friends of Broadfield House is an absolute disgrace - we’re talking about the heritage of our fathers and forefathers.

“The way this has been handled has been disastrous and it’s not the first time this council has found itself in hot water over a consultation.”

Barbara Beadman, chairman of the Friends of Broadfield House Glass Museum, said afterwards: “It’s been a shambles. It’s very sad.”

Fellow Friends member and glass collector John Sanders said cllr Millward’s remarks were “ridiculous” and London based glass collector Nigel Benson branded her downright “patronising”.

Dudley Council still maintains no decision has been taken to close the Compton Drive museum and that a feasibility study will determine whether or not its collection is to be moved to Wordsley’s Red House Glass Cone.

However the issue was listed in last night’s full council agenda, which was given the nod in a 40-1 vote, with a brief report which talks about the council’s intention to “dispose of Broadfield House and realise a capital receipt in due course - in time for the start of 2010-11 financial year when it has been assumed savings of £120,000 per annum will be achieved.”