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Kidderminster gallery campaigners feel 'sense of deja-vu'
A GROUP campaigning to protect Kidderminster Library’s gallery from being moved will adopt a formal structure to ensure its voice is heard.
Kidderminster Gallery Friends has released a draft constitution and will hold its inaugural general meeting on Monday, September 3, to elect an official committee.
Its aim is to meet Worcestershire County Council as a collective body to make sure plans to move the top floor gallery space and piano elsewhere in Kidderminster Library are not put forward again.
Earlier this year the county council withdrew an application to replace the gallery with offices for social services staff. The council said the change was needed to help save £1.8 million from the library service this year.
The friends group argued before plans were withdrawn the council had not properly consulted art groups in Wyre Forest or the public about the change of use. The council said its reason for the withdrawal was to hold further talks.
The friends say they have still not received an invitation from the council to meet them as a collective group, although the council will meet several art groups separately.Some groups include members of Kidderminster Gallery Friends.
Conservative councillor John Campion , county council member with responsibility for the libraries and learning service, said: “We are meeting with interested parties and groups.
“That includes people who have hired the space, hired the piano and we will continue to do that. The council had not been informed the friends were a constituted group.”
Stephen Brown, friends acting secretary, said the group felt a “sense of deja-vu”.
“It appears the council has not learnt lessons over its handling of the issue since we welcomed the withdrawal of change of use planning application,” he added.
“As it stands we have not had any official invite to get involved in any discussions.
"That has annoyed the standing committee and members of the friends group. They have not shared anything with us and they are drip feeding stuff to individual groups.”