Snibston Discovery Museum changes a 'foregone conclusion'

Snibston Discovery Museum (picture: English Heritage) Image copyright English Heritage
Image caption If plans are approved, a mining museum would be developed by the end of 2015

Plans to turn a Leicestershire attraction into a mining museum are a "foregone conclusion", a county councillor has claimed.

Snibston Discovery Museum, in Coalville, currently has activities based around science and industry as well as its mining heritage.

Leicestershire county councillor Terri Eynon said the only given option for the museum was to downsize it.

The county council said the "only realistic alternative" was "closure".

In February, the authority agreed to cut the attraction's annual £740,000 subsidy by £240,000.

The Conservative-run council, which needs to save £137.5m by 2018/2019, claimed its plans to lose 75% of the museum could save £9.4m over 25 years.

But Dr Eynon said this figure "compared poorly with the £105m of economic value" the current attraction would bring to the Coalville area over the same period.

'Out of time'

"The Snibston Proposed Future Offer report seeks approval to progress with the necessary consultation process but does not provide any alternative options," Dr Eynon said.

"It gives the impression of a fait accompli rather than a consultation.

"A consultation that does not contain alternative options is not a consultation but a foregone conclusion."

Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: "Snibston has had years to devise ways of reducing costs and attracting more visitors but, sadly, it hasn't worked.

"We've now run out of time and that's why we are consulting on proposals for a smaller, mining museum... which would cut costs considerably, while focussing on Snibston's history and its importance to Coalville.

"The only other realistic alternative is complete closure - and I'm sure people would prefer a mining museum to that."

Friends of Snibston, a campaign group against the plans, which had more than 8,000 people sign a petition to protect the attraction, said it would continue its fight.

The consultation will begin later this month and run until June before a decision is made in September.

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