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Does Snibston really need to close?

April 12, 2015 12:49 PM
By Mark Argent - PPC for North West Leicestershire
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Earlier in the week I popped in to the cafe at Snibston Museum in Coalville for lunch. What greeted me was a full car park and a long queue at the cafe. When I say "full", I mean that all the parking spaces in front of the Museum were in use, and in the second car park, I took the one space I could see, having decided not to park beside someone starting a new row that looked as if it was going to block people in.

Snibston Car Park

At a busy and thriving attraction this would be no surprise, but it makes me wonder about Leicestershire County Council's decision to close Snibston because it is making a £900,000 annual loss. How can this be?

With visitor numbers like this it is obvious that many people come to Snibston. If a loss is being made, surely the visitor numbers suggest that the County Council should be asking what can be changed to improve profitability, rather than seeking to close it.

There is much in the mining heritage of Coalville that people can be proud of. On the doorsteps I have heard people talk with pride of that story. The Snibston museum could be doing so much more to celebrate that heritage.

Coalville is in need of regeneration. In commercial terms, surely it makes sense to think of investment in Snibston Museum as part of a regeneration programme - and as something that repays the investment relatively quickly.

But the human side of regeneration is even more important than bricks-and-mortar. In those terms, loosing Snibston (and perhaps also the Hugglescote Community Centre) would be a big step backwards. Investing in it so that it can be an even better hub where people meet offers huge potential for contributing to the human side of regeneration in Coalville.