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Friends of Kidderminster Library Gallery protest outside town hall
‘Save our gallery’: Protestors gather outside Kidderminster Town Hall, next to Worcestershire County Council’s ‘have your say’ event. Photo: Colin Hill.
A CAMPAIGN group opposing planned changes to Kidderminster Library’s top-floor gallery say they “cannot be ignored” after holding a “day of action”.
Protests against the proposals, organised by Friends of Kidderminster Library Gallery, coincided yesterday with Worcestershire County Council’s “have your say” event outside the town hall.
A Wyre Forest District Council planning committee meeting was also due to take place last night, with bosses advised by planning officer John Baggott to give “no objection” to the county council’s planned change of use.
The move would see the library’s top floor gallery and Steinway piano moved to the ground and first floor respectively.
About 20 people gathered to hand out leaflets with group members Stephen Brown, Kate Wragg and Heather Wastie performing a campaign song on their guitars.
County councillors, including member with responsibility for libraries and learning services Conservative John Campion, said their event had been dominated by the issue.
Mr Campion, whose name featured in the campaign song’s first verse, said: “It is good we can engage with people and we have had all kinds of views.
“The protestors have a democratic right to air their views but I believe they have misunderstood what we are trying to do with our library service, which is provide our service according to national financial circumstances.
“No change is not an option we have to [save £1.8 million] in our library service but we believe we can provide a quality gallery and performance space in our library.”
People attending the “day of action” included members of the arts community and representatives of the Classical Music Society who argue the gallery is purpose built and its quality could not be retained if moved elsewhere in the library.
Protestor Louise Charlotte, from Kidderminster, said: “This is another blow to the town. They are cutting where they do not really need to - maybe they could tax the rich more.”
Ms Wastie added: “We are gathering support, there is so many people behind this now they cannot ignore us.”