Museum, library face opening hours cuts

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MELTON Carnegie Museum could face closure over the winter and on two or three weekdays throughout the year as the county council looks to save money.

The town’s library could also see its evening and Saturday opening hours reduced.

Leicestershire’s ruling cabinet decided this week to launch a public consultation on the proposals as part of a bid to save up to £433,000 county-wide. The county council is committed to saving 40 per cent from its £10m libraries, museums and arts budget over the next four years as part of its £79m savings.

There are two options for the museum.

Option 1 would see it close from November to February, plus Sundays and Mondays throughout the year and closure from 3pm during March.

Option 2 would see it close from November to January plus Sundays, Mondays and Fridays throughout the year and closure from 3pm during February and March.

Its current opening hours are 10am to 4.30pm seven days a week.

Council leader David Parsons met with the museum’s volunteers group last week and they are putting forward a third option based on some savings through opening hours reductions but also activities to generate income and make the most of the Carnegie’s new £1m Heritage Lottery funded gallery and community room.

Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of Melton Mowbray Food Partnership, is also calling for the county council to think again.

He said: “We are working hard in Melton to promote tourism and encourage visitors into the town as part of our economic regeneration.

“We now average 10 coaches each Tuesday into the town and visitors come all the year round, especially for events such as the Victorian Christmas Fayre.

“We had a train especially chartered last November to visit Melton carrying 500 visitors, many of whom went to the museum. This would no longer be possible under the new hours. I call on the Cabinet to please think again, this is an important service to the town.”