WAKEFIELD Council could be set to spend more than £6m on supporting The Hepworth Wakefield art gallery over the next five years.
Council chiefs , who must cut £185m from the local authority’s budgets by 2020, say it is estimated the art gallery has contributed £22.8m towards Wakefield district’s economy since it opened in 2011.
The Hepworth Wakefield, which is recognised as the biggest gallery outside London, has attracted more than a million visitors.
A report to a meeting of the council’s cabinet committee next Tuesday recommends the council provides £1.24m funding to the gallery per year from 2015 to 2019. It also recommends that a review is carried to determine a long term solution to funding the gallery that reduces the reliance of council funding.
Coun Les Shaw, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “By working in partnership we have been able to support the creation of this fantastic award-winning gallery for the district.
“The iconic Hepworth Wakefield is a key feature in the regeneration of the area and it has already proved itself as a premier cultural tourism destination in the region and beyond. That is why we are looking at how we can continue to provide support, despite the current tough economic situation.”
Wakefield Council played a key role in the building of the gallery and helped set up an independent trust to manage and operate the building and the collections on a 25 year lease agreement.
Wakefield Council is currently carrying out a public consultation on proposals to close swimming pools at Castleford, Knottingley and Pontefract and build one new pool in the area. The public is also being consulted on proposals to close 14 of the district’s 23 children’s centres.