A petition signed by more than 1,600 people opposing the closure of Tolson Museum has been presented to Kirklees Council.

Tolson Museum in Ravensknowle Park was earmarked for closure in 2014 but later given a reprieve.

The council has since confirmed it plans to shut the museum and move the collections to the new Huddersfield Museum to be built in the proposed £210 million Cultural Heart in Huddersfield town centre.

The Tolson building, gifted to the people of the town, cannot be sold off and must remain for educational benefit under a legal covenant. The council is now seeking a community group to take it on when the museum eventually shuts its doors.

Almondbury Liberal Democrat councillor Paola Davies has been critical of the Labour-run administration’s decision to close Tolson Museum.

A petition she started has been signed by over 1,680 people and Clr Davies believes the closure plans go against the needs and wishes of local people and the local community and it also contradicts the administration’s commitment to preserve local heritage.

Clr Davies also fears centralising collections in the town centre would mean less display space, forcing a portion of the merged collection to be withdrawn from public view, due to a lack of space.

Presenting the petition at a full meeting of Kirklees Council, Clr Davies (pictured above left and with Clr Alison Munro) said: “I have here a petition with over 1,680 signatures, regarding the Tolson Museum.

“The sheer number of signatures shows how important the museum is to people and what a big part the Tolson Museum plays in their memories, their family histories and their sense of heritage.

“From the wealth of comments people have taken the time to make shows the depth of feeling associated with the museum.

“On November 14, the (council’s) Heritage Strategy was published, seeking to define and describe the heritage of Kirklees. It is already here in the Tolson. Yet at the same time, it was announced in a meeting that the collections from the Tolson would be moved, effectively closing it as a museum.”

Kirklees Council is developing a new Heritage Strategy, which is currently in the draft stage and subject to public consultation. The strategy aims to attract visitors to Kirklees and encourage collaboration, promotion and participation in heritage and culture.

Clr Davies added: “This petition demonstrates that people love this museum as it is and they want more from it, where it is.

“Please reconsider your decisions and please keep the Tolson collections in the Tolson Museum where they belong “

You can view the petition at: http://chng.it/8BbbfQWL