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Kidderminster Library gallery change of use plans put on hold
PROPOSALS to move Kidderminster Library’s gallery and piano to make way for Worcestershire County Council staff have been put on hold.
The planning application for a change of use of the top-floor facility has been withdrawn by the county council following concerns from Wyre Forest’s arts community.
It would have seen 139 staff move into offices on the top floor of the library. Gallery space would have moved to the ground floor and the Steinway piano would be moved to the first floor.
The idea has not been scrapped although the withdrawal will allow for more talks between the county council and arts community.
Opponents, including the Friends of Kidderminster Library Gallery, claimed the gallery was purpose built and its quality could not have been retained if moved elsewhere.
County council cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, Conservative John Campion, said the library service, however, still had to save £1.8 million.
“The arts community in Kidderminster have some concern over the possibility of moving the gallery and performance space from the top floor of the library,” he said, “So it is right we withdraw the current application to enable further dialogue to take place so we can understand those concerns.
“The county council and I are listening to the concerns of the community and we are keen to hear the ideas people have to meet our financial challenges in another way.
“No change is not an option and now is a chance for the community and objectors to come forward with their alternatives. It is unfortunate many comments have just been ‘we do not want it to happen’ so we need people to come forward with their ideas.
“The library service and county council face unprecedented financial pressure as the country struggles to deal with the huge national deficit.”
Mr Campion said meetings were planned between the county council and art groups in the district.
The plans have sparked controversy since being put forward by the county council earlier this year. Last Tuesday protesters set up next to a county council “have your say” event.
That same evening, Wyre Forest District Council’s planning committee, who were being consulted on the application, voted to “object” to the proposals.