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£4.2m Tolson museum repair costs are a "scare story" campaigners say

Council says it can't afford renovation but Friends of Tolson are disputing the figure

The multi-million cost of fixing up Tolson Museum is a “scare story”, campaigners have said.

Kirklees Council has stated the crumbling venue in Ravensknowle Park needs £4.2m of repairs to keep it going.

The council has said it can’t afford the hefty bill and is considering closing the historic museum – donated to the people of Huddersfield in memory of the war dead.

But Ann Denham, chair of the Friends of Tolson and Ravensknowle , said the figure was misleading.

She said the main museum building needed only £275,000 of urgent repairs.

Tolson Memorial Museum in Ravensknowle Park, Huddersfield.

“The statement that £4.2m is needed to repair the Tolson Museum is a scare story,” she said.

“If you look closely at the figures in the survey you see that the £4.2m includes the cost of repairs, not only to the museum, but also to the Clock Tower, the pump house, the stable block and the workshop block.

“If you take these buildings out it comes to £3m.“

Mrs Denham said the survey categorised repairs to the Tolson by urgency.

Category 1 – the most urgent – lists only £275,000 of work.

An estimated £208,000 of repairs are category 2, category 3 is £656,000 and £1m of work has been made category 4.

“This is still a large amount of money,” she admitted, “but the work would be phased in over the years.

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“The Huddersfield District Committee surely could use some of its money to help facilitate this.

“This museum is the historical heritage of the people of Huddersfield.

“It should also be borne in mind, that if the museum was to close, there would be a cost in closing and securing it.

“A building which, apart from three rooms which are fully let for educational courses, is absolutely full of historical and environmental artefacts from attic to cellar.

“There is not a spare inch.

“What on earth will happen to these important artefacts?

“The house and the artefacts in it are the heritage of the people of Huddersfield and should remain available for all to understand and enjoy.”

Plans to slash £531,000 from the £1m museums budget in 2017/18 were approved by councillors last month.

The council has said Oakwell Hall at Birstall is safe from the axe but it is only likely to keep two other museums open – one for North Kirklees and one for Huddersfield.

Cabinet member for resources, Clr Graham Turner, told the Examiner that nothing had been decided but he hoped options for the future would be published by the summer.



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