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Gallery campaigners call for councillor to quit
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to halt controversial plans to move Kidderminster Library’s top-floor gallery have called for the resignation of a Worcestershire County Council cabinet member.
Kidderminster Gallery Friends say the cabinet was “misled” by Conservative councillor John Campion, cabinet member for localism and communities, before approving proposals to move the gallery to the first floor, making room for offices on the top floor.
Mr Campion told the meeting at County Hall last Thursday: “The financial savings we get through a better use of property is something we cannot turn down.
“If there was an art group or a group that brought a similar saving for the library absolutely we would look at that but there is not.”
After the meeting, Stephen Brown, friends secretary, said: “The friends group was set up to work with the council to promote and develop the gallery, including bidding for funding, if necessary.
“This one statement exemplifies the arrogance and lack of proper understanding and engagement by the council on this issue rendering it the opposite of localism. This is why the friends call on [Mr Campion] to resign.”
Mr Campion did not want to comment on the friends’ reaction, saying people could see for themselves what was said at the cabinet on the council’s website.
“The proposal to relocate the gallery to the first floor of the library will save more than £200,000 per annum,” he added. “This will help us keep open smaller libraries such as Bewdley, which otherwise, would be under threat.”
The proposals will now go to the council’s planning committee but the friends, who said the move would “destroy” the gallery, said the “fight is not over”.
“We are going to draw attention to the lack of engagement, raise the plight of the gallery on our Four Nights in November event and encourage resistance to the planning application,” added Mr Brown.
The group will hold its own “engagement event” outside Kidderminster Library today from 10am until 1pm.