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Library plans need a re-think say campaigners
MEMBERS of a campaign group fighting to prevent Kidderminster Library’s top-floor gallery arts space being moved have urged Worcestershire County Council to rethink its plans.
It follows feedback from an “engagement event” held last Thursday by Kidderminster Gallery Friends, who were not satisfied by the results of a similar event held by the council earlier this year.
At the council’s event, 53 of 82 respondents said they favoured a proposal to move the gallery to the library’s first floor to make room for offices. The change of use is due to be discussed at a planning meeting before the end of this year.
The friends’ event provided members of the public with comment cards, which included the council’s original options as well as one the friends had previously suggested but was not used in the official consultation.
That option suggested moving the first-floor reference section to the top floor and putting the offices in its place, leaving the gallery untouched. According to the Friends, 360 comment cards were completed with 285 – 79 per cent – selecting the third option.
Spokesman Stephen Brown said: “The response from the public was overwhelming and we want to thank everyone who took the time to complete a card and study the proposal options.
“We were very careful to avoid steering people to a conclusion, as it was important the results reflected the true feeling of local people.
“We are told the library gets 1,300 visitors a day, yet the council’s recent consultation, which took place over three days, had 82 returns. The Friends had 160 completed cards in just one hour.”
On twitter, Conservative councillor John Campion, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, questioned whether the friends had given a “balanced view” at the event.
The plan is part of the council’s need to save £1.8 million from the library service.