Leeds City Council has proposed the closure of industrial museum Thwaite Watermill, a move aimed at achieving cost savings.

The ending of the lease is projected to result in cost savings in the range of £660,000 to £756,000 over the next five years. The council’s lease of Thwaite Watermill, which commenced in the past, was originally set to expire in 2030.

The venue is one of nine operated by Leeds Museums & Galleries. It said the museum currently operates with low visitor numbers, and welcomes the general public only during weekends and school holidays, and during term time for pre-booked groups.

A final decision has not yet been taken to surrender the lease, but Thwaite Watermill will be provisionally closed to the public as a Leeds Museums and Galleries attraction from April 2024.

The end of the lease, which is still subject to public consultation, received approval from council members.

Existing bookings will be honored until October 2024, Leeds Museums & Galleries said, and Leeds City Council will maintain “close collaboration with site owners, the Canal and River Trust, and other stakeholders throughout the process”.

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said it “does not take any decisions affecting our visitor attractions lightly” but financial pressures “have forced us to look at options which would never have previously been considered.”

“Ending the lease on Thwaite allows us to balance the urgent and unavoidable need to make cost savings with continuing to provide a diverse, high quality, accessible experience for our visitors at Leeds Museums and Galleries’ other eight sites, all of which are owned by Leeds City Council.”

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