Opening hours at Swindon's art gallery and museum could be cut in an effort to save money.

An item in the borough council's draft budget for next year says £20,000 could be saved by making one member of staff redundant and reducing the building's hours.

The cabinet member for the town centre, Coun Dale Heenan said: "I am working hard on a plan for a Swindon Museum and Art Gallery that Swindon can be proud of, is affordable, respects heritage and can be delivered next year. The unvarnished reality is that the current Museum and Art Gallery brings in no income of note, has extremely low footfall and is subsidised by taxpayers to the tune of £200,000 per year and Labour councillors are happy to see this continue.

"To contribute to easing the council’s financial situation, a vacant post has been proposed by Officers. To me this seems a very reasonable saving to minimize any potential impact on potential visitors while the new plan is completed."

But chairman of the gallery and museum's friends organisation- a group of volunteers and fundraisers - Linda Kazmaty was dismayed by the suggestion.

She said: "It just seems very short-sighted. There doesn't seem to be an appreciation of the value of the arts in general and the art gallery and museum in particular at the council.

"I feel that the councillors don't go to the art gallery themselves and don't understand why anyone else would want to."

Speaking while working on the flower beds outside the front of the building in Bath Road, Linda added: "Members of the friends volunteer and we raise funds for the art gallery, but it's the staff there I really feel for.

"They work so hard and they try to make it a good experience.

"If hours are cut, I suppose that it will open at noon, when children are at school. It really does seem a shame.

" I went to Cheltenham to see the refurbished Wilson museum and art gallery there. We have as good a collection here, and it seems that we lack the imagination to really make the best of it, and make the art gallery a real attraction."

The gallery and museum currently opens Tuesday to Saturday between 11am-4.30pm.

If the proposals are approved, the change will be made from April 1.