Frequently asked questions
1. Is Broadfield House closing?
No decision has been taken to close Broadfield House and there will be no decision before the outcomes and recommendations of a robust feasibility study has been completed. This study will include consideration of security issues, display facilities, accessibility to the public and professionals, other on site facilities and overall cost effectiveness. The study will also involve consultation with the glass industry and local people with the intention of reporting findings and recommendations to the council’s cabinet in October 2009.
2. What is the council’s vision for displaying its glass collection and heritage in the future?
The council’s aspiration is to enhance our museums’ service, to create an excellent visitor experience that is appropriate to our renowned glass collections. A robust and professional study will seek to test the feasibility of relocating glass collections from Broadfield House and elsewhere to the Red House Glass Works Museum, known locally as the Red House Glass Cone. Currently Red House attracts in the region of 22,000 more visitors a year than visit Broadfield House therefore our aspiration is to capitalise on these visitor numbers to increase access to these wonderful collections to as many visitors as possible. The historic cone at Red House combined with on site glass blowing demonstrations linking through to the superb collections of finished glass should bring to life the art of glass making for visitors of all ages and in turn increase awareness of a significant part of the areas heritage.
3. What will happen at full council on March 2 2009?
At its meeting on March 2 full council will be asked to approve the budget. This includes projected spending over the next three years as part of the medium term financial strategy. This strategy does include an estimated saving of £120,000 in the museum’s service. Full council’s decisions on the budget and the medium term financial strategy will not supersede or influence the decision on Broadfield House as no decision has been taken to close Broadfield House nor will there be a decision before the outcomes and recommendations of a robust feasibility study has been completed. If the feasibility study concluded that it will not be possible to deliver the council’s aspiration one for an enhanced facility at the Red House Glass Works Museum site and that Broadfield should not close the council would then need to decide, as part of the medium term financial planning process, whether to seek that level of estimated saving from elsewhere within the total council revenue budget.
4. What are the timescales for the feasibility study?
Identification and appointment of museum accredited consultants through to undertaking and completion of the study leading to final reporting is estimated to run from mid February 2009 to October 2009. The study’s recommendations will not be limited to the relocation of the collections and will be used to inform the future development of the Red House Glass Works Museum in years to come and the council’s management and display of the collections more generally. The study outcomes will also provide validated feasibility data essential for any future lottery or other external bids. If the feasibility study met the key criteria for the relocation of the glass collections there would also be a sizeable capital receipt from the reuse or sale of Broadfield House that could be partly earmarked to reinvest in Red House or used towards match funding for external grants.
5. What are the visitor figures for Broadfield?
In 2007/08 total visitor figures were 12,000.
6. What are the visitor figures for Red House Glass Works Museum?
In 2007/08 the total visitor figures were approximately 34,000.
7. What will happen to staff at Broadfield House if glass collections are relocated?
If the feasibility study criteria is met and a formal council decision made staff would be redeployed either at Red House Glass Works Museum or other locations within the council as part of the council’s redeployment policy. If criteria are not met staff would stay at Broadfield House or at other locations within the terms of their respective current terms of employment contract.
8. Will there be any public consultation?
Public consultation will be an integral part of the feasibility study and a consultation programme will be published by the consultants.
9. Have consultants been appointed to carry out the feasibility study?
The intention is to appoint accredited consultants by early April 2009 with the aim of final reports and recommendations being made to the council (cabinet) in October 2009.
10. Where would money come from to improve facilities at the Red House Glass Works Museum?
Any capital investment that may be required as a result of the feasibility study would be sought from external funding or from part of any capital receipt that may accrue from the potential sale of Broadfield House.