A FINAL decision has been taken today to close a museum with strong links to the Brontes amid cuts to the museums and galleries budget in Kirklees.

Red House Museum in Gomersal is one of two museums that will close by the end of March next year at the latest as Kirklees Council centres on retaining three museum venues under its new vision for culture in the district.

The authority’s museums and galleries budget is being cut by half from April next year, and plans were therefore drawn up to restructure the service.

The decision was taken yesterday by the council’s cabinet to close historic Red House, where Charlotte Bronte was a frequent visitor, immortalising the house in her second novel, Shirley, as well as Dewsbury Museum.

Oakwell Hall and Country Park in Birstall and Bagshaw Museum are to stay and a new Huddersfield Museum and Art Gallery will be created.

In the short term, Huddersfield’s Tolson Museum and the current art gallery will be retained to maintain a presence in south Kirklees, but Tolson is also set to shut in the long-term.

Cabinet agreed to invite expressions of interest for the museum buildings that are no longer required.

Collections will be transferred to other museum buildings or to a storage facility.

Last week, John Thirwell, chairman of the Brontë Society, said it was “concerned and saddened” to learn of the likely closure of Red House, but said it would continue conversations with the authority to explore how the Brontes’ links with the building could be maintained.

But, during yesterday’s meeting, Graham Turner, cabinet member for Creative Kirklees, said the society were “not interested” in taking on the site.

He said: “We have spoken to many organisations in the museums and heritage sector, and no-one has expressed an interest in taking on any of the sites.”

On Red House, he said: “We have spoken to the Bronte Society, they are not interested.”

He said that cuts to Government funding had led to the budget for the museums service being cut by £531,000.

“No-one in this chamber wants to cut the museums service,” he said.

“But, this is not a statutory service, we didn’t have to do a consultation but we went out of our way to engage with the public.

“If anyone has any ideas on how we can save these services, then please speak to us, immediately.”