Gallery charges go under microscope
Council chiefs are fine-tuning proposals to charge for entry to Bath's Victoria Art Gallery.
The idea of bringing in charges for the first time at the Bath and North East Somerset Council-run gallery has been mooted as part of the authority's battle to balance its books over the next three years.
Documents which have been discussed by councillors suggest the aim of charges at the city centre attraction would be to generate £50,000 a year.
When they were first suggested, B&NES could not rule out levying a charge for access to the whole of the gallery, which contains paintings and other items dating back to the 15th century.
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Now it says it is looking at charging only for temporary exhibitions in its large downstairs gallery.
This is the part of the attraction that can get the highest footfall, with exhibitions that change every six to eight weeks.
The authority says charges may vary according to the exhibition on show and, that because of the gallery's popularity with repeat visitors, a season ticket option is being considered.
There would be no charge for the small exhibition gallery, which would continue to host free shows by local artists and which would contain the gallery shop, and no charge for the upstairs galleries that house the permanent collection.
The authority said: "These proposals are still a work in progress. The council made clear at the start of the budget process that its budget proposals in the four medium-term financial and service plans being considered by our policy development and scrutiny panels were not final and could be changed."
The final council budget will be set in February.
You can have your say on budget options, and tell politicians what services they should prioritise at www. bathnes.gov.uk/budgetview or write to B&NES at Resources Team, 3rd Floor, Guildhall, Bath, BA1 5AW.