Welwyn Hatfield museums set to charge

MILL Green Museum is set to introduce admission fees in a desperate bid to plug a funding gap.

And Welwyn Roman Baths will increase its entrance charge from �1.50 for adults to �2.50 as Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service attempts to keep facilities open.

Welwyn Hatfield Council has reduced the museum service budget by �70,000, despite the popular facilities attracting more than 25,000 people last year.

Councillors are set to discuss the savings at a social overview and scrutiny committee meeting, being held tomorrow (Thursday) night.

A report to the meeting states, despite a worst case scenario of a fall in visitor numbers by 50 per cent, �15,000 could be made by charging adults �2.50 to visit the museum and mill.

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A reduction in opening hours, which would see the museum closed on Fridays and Saturdays, and cutting back on staff will also help reduce costs.

Dr Dennis Lewis, president of the Friends of the Museum, told the WHT: “To us these draconian measures are not new, for we discussed them when we invited councillors to meet with us last September. Even so they are a bitter disappointment to all of us who have an interest in helping the council maintain an attractive and efficient heritage resource at Mill Green and Welwyn.

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“I use the words heritage resource because Mill Green is much more than a museum and historic working mill.

“Mill Green is a centre concerned with broadening the education and awareness of children of all ages.”

Friends chairman Derek Fitzhugh said: “Since 2003, when the friends was established, we have contributed �16,000 to the museums for over 40 items in order to help to sustain an attractive service.

“We shall redouble our efforts to help the museum service, both in money and in kind, at a particularly difficult time in its history.”

The pair urged the council to make it clear these would be temporary measures, and insisted the council made the museum free to the public once again, at the first opportunity.

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