Plan to close Cynon Valley Museum on hold

Geraldine Kendall, 22.05.2014
Community groups in talks to take over heritage site
The planned closure of Cynon Valley Museum & Art Gallery is on hold after three opposition councillors submitted a call in request this week to Rhonda Cynon Taff Council.

The council voted earlier this month to close the site and cease its service level agreement with Pontypridd Museum in order to save £350,000. The local authority is facing cuts of £70m over the next four years.

Councillors have now referred that decision back to the cabinet for further consideration. Their submission is due to be discussed by the council's scrutiny committee next week.

No date has been set for the closure of the museum, which opened in 2001 with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and is located on the site of the 19th century Gadlys Ironworks.

The proposal to close the museum has come up against significant public opposition, with a petition against the move attracting almost 2,000 signatures.

One campaigner, David Davies, said at a council meeting earlier this month: "This is the only accredited museum in Rhonda Cynon Taff. There is no place of wider historical significance in South Wales."

Cabinet members have agreed that the council will seek support groups or volunteers interested in taking over the running of the museum.

Councillor Mike Forey said: "There is every possibility of a community group taking it over. The council will turn from a position of provider to enabler."

Interested parties have been given 12 weeks to put forward a business plan to run the museum. Two separate campaign groups have come together in a steering group, which is working with Coalfields Regeneration Trust to come up with a proposal.

The group is exploring the option of setting up a volunteer-run trust to take over the site.

In a message to campaign supporters, local artist and campaigner Gayle Rogers said: "Although we are devastated with the news we can save our museum and gallery. If you are interested in joining us in setting up a trust please get in touch."

Rogers added: "There have been a number of people who have come forward with offers of help and several people have shown a keen interest in volunteering and being trustees, which is very encouraging.

"We have had offers of support from around the country which demonstrates the national significance of the venue and its collection."

Links


Keep Cynon Valley Museum Open campaign

Update
23.05.2014

Updated to include more information on the campaign.

Update
28.05.2014


Title and opening paragraph edited to clarify that the planned closure is now on hold.


Comments

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05.06.2014, 12:06
Would they not have to repay the lottery grant if it was closed by the Council?