Last week I sent the following email to Councillor Karen Shakespeare:
Thank you for your letter of 26th January, copied below.
I note that you state:
"I have called for a study on the feasibility of moving the collections and housing them in the Glass Quarter at The Red House Cone"
Would you be kind enough to indicate who will be responsible for preparing this study?
Can you confirm whether this will be an external study by an independent consultant and that the public will have access to the report well in time before any decision is taken by the Council?
I should very much appreciate it if you could forward a copy of the briefing document that sets out the scope and terms of reference of this study as well as the time-scale for its completion and publication.
Thank you very much.
Adam Aaronson FRSA
This evening I received the following reply:
Dear Mr Aaronson
Thank you for your further e-mail. I am sure you will appreciate that this issue has led to a significant amount of mail and since I donâ€™t have direct access to secretarial services I will have to keep my reply brief.
In response to your specific questions:
The Directorate of the Urban Environment will be responsible for commissioning the study.
The first stage will be a scoping exercise to determine the range of options available. This will, I hope, set upper and lower limits for the aspiration to relocate the Glass Museum within the Glass Quarter. The fall back position has already been determined in that if an improved display facility with better public access (including disabled access) cannot be created, then the Museum will remain at Broadfield House.
There will then be a need to set out the terms of reference for the feasibility study. It is likely that this will be undertaken by a professional in the field but who this will be has not yet been determined.
It is envisaged that the study itself will engage all of the organisations and groups who have shown their interest in the future of the Museum and I expect there to be a substantial amount of public consultation throughout the process.
From what I have already said, you will appreciate I am not in a position to forward a copy of the briefing document you refer to, since we are only in the early stages of developing it. The studyâ€™s completion and publication dates will also be identified as part of this process.
One thing I can assure you of, is that the details of whatever comes from this feasibility study will be in the public domain long before a final decision is made. I also expect that the Select Committee on Regeneration, Culture and Adult Education will be receiving regular reports throughout the process.
I would hope that we will be able to develop a plan and receive â€˜buy inâ€™ from all interested parties. Of course it will not be possible to please everyone, but I see this as very much a joint venture between the Council, the residents of the Borough and those who have a special interest in our Glass Heritage.
On this basis, I look forward to working with you and others to bring the passion, knowledge and genuine concern that has been shown, together to create a Glass Museum which is truly deserving of its international reputation.
I hope this helps,
Cllr Karen Shakespeare
Halesowen North Ward Councillor
Cabinet Member for the Environment & Culture
I certainly think that this is a very constructive reply but as with all these things I shall be reading it carefully a few times before responding.