PLANS to transfer ownership of Bewdley Museum to new independent trust will be discussed by councillors next week.

Wyre Forest District Council is proposing to establish a fully-independent trust to run the award-winning museum, as well as the town's Guildhall and Queen Elizabeth II Gardens.

The council says the economic pressures caused by Covid-19 mean it must look at ways to protect the museum's future.

As part of the plans, the council would transfer its role as trustee of Bewdley Museum to the new trust, and instead provide grants to help the new owners cover running costs.

The grants are expected to be worth several hundred thousand pounds per year, however the council would expect to reduce its contribution by at least £50,000 a year.

Councillor Helen Dyke, cabinet member for culture, leisure and community protection, said: "We know what an important asset Bewdley Museum is to the district as a whole. In 2019 it attracted more than 200,000 visits.

"The site is also home to a tourist information centre and the town’s art gallery and provides a venue for many activities.

“As the economic pressures on Wyre Forest District Council continue to increase, we are looking for the best way to make sure the museum, Guildhall and Queen Elizabeth II Gardens remain key features of our district.

"We believe by creating a museum trust with a board of trustees with the relevant skills we would be giving the museum the best chance to develop further.”

The total net cost of running the museum is over £450,000, not including the cost associated with the Jubilee Gardens.

If the plans go ahead, collection items owned by the council would be transferred to the new museum trust, alongside stock of the museum shop.

The relevant council staff would also be transferred over to the trust.

The proposals will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, November 5.

Any recommendations will then be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday, November 10.