Legal bid to overturn Kidderminster gallery plans

Kidderminster Shuttle: ‘Keep the gallery open’: Louise Ryan is applying for a judicial review over the county council’s gallery decision. ‘Keep the gallery open’: Louise Ryan is applying for a judicial review over the county council’s gallery decision.

A DISABLED user of Kidderminster Library gallery will take legal action against Worcestershire County Council after plans to replace the facility with offices were approved by planning chiefs.

Louise Ryan, 40, of Sculthorpe Road, Blakedown, said she will launch an application for a judicial review against the council, saying the quality of her life will be “considerably diminished” when the top floor gallery is moved.

The decision, approved by the council’s cabinet and planning committees, will see offices for social services staff replace the purpose-built topfloor arts area.The gallery will be moved and, according to the friends, significantly downgraded, to the building’s first floor, and the Steinway grand piano will be moved to Kidderminster Town Hall.

Kidderminster Gallery Friends have set up a fund to help Mrs Ryan raise money towards some of her legal costs.

The case is also being funded by the Legal Services Commission.

Mrs Ryan said: “I have enjoyed visiting the gallery, which is a unique facility in Kidderminster and Wyre Forest, to listen to recitals and look at the art exhibitions there. It is a very disabledfriendly venue, so access is easy and because I am on a limited income it has been wonderful to enjoy the music at a very reasonable price.

“If the gallery is closed, the quality of my life and probably that of many other people in the district is going to be considerably diminished. I’m determined to keep it open.”

The council argues the gallery will be re-provided under the plans and not closed.

The proposals are part of the council’s libraries and learning service’s plans to slash £1.8 million from its budget over three years through its Better Outcomes Lean Delivery (BOLD) programme.

Conservative councillor John Campion, cabinet member responsible for the libraries and learning service, said: “The council is mindful of all communities when making any decisions and we will take appro priate steps to mitigate any concerns.”

Gallery friends secretary Stephen Brown said the group wanted to help raise £5,000 to help Mrs Ryan’s case.

“It is a brave decision she has made and we wish her well,” he added. “We think she has an excellent case.”

Comments (2)

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6:32am Fri 28 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

For those where life seems a lottery the gallery is a valuable space for connection and reflection.

For the connected it is a community asset for community building and engagement.

For the engaged it is a place of use for entertainment.

For the entertained it is a space to plan and play in

For the planner it is a space to exploit.

For the dis-engaged it is a space of no use, a waste of money, or an asset to be exploited as in a lottery of community assets
For those where life seems a lottery the gallery is a valuable space for connection and reflection. For the connected it is a community asset for community building and engagement. For the engaged it is a place of use for entertainment. For the entertained it is a space to plan and play in For the planner it is a space to exploit. For the dis-engaged it is a space of no use, a waste of money, or an asset to be exploited as in a lottery of community assets DOEPUBLIC

9:02pm Sun 30 Dec 12

comberton hill questions says...

Excellent news the council's decision will probably now cost the local tax payers more money as a local person has to take legal action to continue their quality of life!!!

Mr Campion and friends another decision which may cost us more money a lot like your national leaders who after being judicially reviewed (remember the Virgin train fiasco) reverse their decision not doubt we will see this again
Excellent news the council's decision will probably now cost the local tax payers more money as a local person has to take legal action to continue their quality of life!!! Mr Campion and friends another decision which may cost us more money a lot like your national leaders who after being judicially reviewed (remember the Virgin train fiasco) reverse their decision not doubt we will see this again comberton hill questions

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