Council considers museum move and school dinners hike in budget consultation
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
Cardiff Council is considering moving a museum out of its historic home as part of this year’s budget consultation.
The council has revealed more of what its budget consultation for 2023-24, set to launch online on December 23, could look like.
Residents will be asked about a number of considerations the council is making to save money, including a potential move for the Museum of Cardiff on The Hayes, reducing the opening hours of recycling centres and increasing the price of school meals.
A cabinet report which will be considered at a meeting this week states: “The Council has been planning to relocate the Museum out of the Old Library to an alternative more suitable venue.
“However, this would require a significant capital investment in addition to the revenue subsidy it receives of £498,000 per year.
“The Council could close the Museum to save money but does not feel that this is the right option and instead proposes to take the Museum of Cardiff out of the Old Library and make it a mobile attraction.”
The Grade II-listed Old Library building was first opened in 1882 and has house the Museum of Cardiff since 2011.
As part of the council’s considered proposal, the museum’s displays and activities would move around Cardiff, and a small key team would be retained to continue with community engagement and manage the ongoing care of the collection.
The cabinet report adds: “This would give a total saving of £266,000 per year and would allow the Council to re-open the museum in a permanent home in the future, if a suitable location was found, and funding secured.”
The consultation will ask residents which option, either making the museum a mobile attraction or keeping the museum open in its current location, they support.
It will also ask people if they have any other suggestions as to how the council could save money on the running of the Museum of Cardiff.
Cardiff Council is also considering reducing the opening times of its two tips during its least busy periods.
Cardiff’s two household waste and recycling centres, Bessemer Close and Lamby Way, currently open seven days a week between 7.30am-6.30pm in the summer, and 9am-6pm in the winter.
The council is considering a reduction to the opening hours of the centres to between 9am and 5pm each day, or closing the centres on Mondays. Either of the changes would save the council £60,000 a year.
The authority will also ask residents if they wish to maintain the current opening hours or if they have any other suggestions.
Thanks to better than expected funding from the Welsh Government, Cardiff Council’s budget gap has been reduced from £53 million to £23.5 million.
However, the authority is still looking to make savings to reduce this even more. Another area the authority is looking to cut down on costs is school meals.
The council is considering an increase to the cost of school meals, either by 5%, 10% or 15%.
Children eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) will continue to receive school meals for free.
Free school meals will be brought in for all primary school pupils in Wales by 2024, but until then the council will continue to fund its provision.
Meeting the full cost of providing school meals for primary and secondary school pupils could cost the council nearly £2 million.
Members of the public will also be asked if they would prefer no increase in cost for school meals and for savings to be found elsewhere.
Cardiff Council’s cabinet will be asked to agree to the proposed approach to the budget consultation for 2023-24 on Thursday December 22.
The consultation will run until January 29, 2023. Full details of the consultation will be available to residents when the consultation opens.
Results of the consultation process will be considered by cabinet in preparing their final 2023-24 budget proposal.
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