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SAVE THE GALLERY: Council urged to save the beloved Williamson Art Gallery

SAVE THE GALLERY: Council urged to save the beloved Williamson Art Gallery

Image: LDRS

A Wirral orchestra is urging the council to save the much-loved Williamson Art Gallery.

Before Christmas, Wirral Council put out a number of savings options out to a public consultation.

The proposal to close the Williamson was reported to be the number one issue of concern for residents who responded to that consultation.

Wirral Council must find around £16.5m to balance its budget for 2020/21.

At a committee meeting last month, council officers said closing the art gallery would save the authority £212,000.

Next Wednesday, a crunch meeting of Wirral Council’s policy and resources committee will discuss this option and the rest of the budget.

Becky Thomas, 37, a music teacher who moved from London to Hoylake six years ago, said the Williamson is a “brilliant space”.

Ms Thomas, who leads the Wirral-based Out of the Blue Orchestra, which was set up in 2019, said: “We have performed at the Williamson and it is brilliant.

“It’s incredible that it’s a free art space which has musical performances. There have been some amazing performances.

“The thought of it not being there is very sad.”

Ms Thomas said the gallery was not just for art lovers.

She added: “It’s definitely something worth saving, it’s a free and accessible venue to everyone in the community.

“It would be such a such a shame to lose that. Even if you’re not particularly interested in art, there’s a wonderful cafe, it reaches so many people.”

While she did not want to comment on specific budget proposals before next week’s meeting, Cllr Janette Williamson, leader of Wirral Council, said: “I will not seek to balance the books by removing much-loved amenities or affecting the quality of life for our residents.”

At a council committee meeting last month, Oxton ward councillor Allan Brame said he was opposed to the closure.

The Lib Dem councillor said: “We must defend the Williamson”.

Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter

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