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Planning committee 'objects' to Kidderminster Library gallery changes
WYRE Forest District Council’s planning committee has voted to object to a change of use by Worcestershire County Council for Kidderminster Library’s top-floor gallery.
Planning officer John Baggott’s “no objection” recommendation was overturned by planning bosses at the meeting last night.
The county council is consulting the district council on the proposals, which would see 139 staff move into office on the top floor of the library. Gallery space would move to the ground floor and the Steinway piano would be moved to the first floor.
It followed a “day of action” protest against plans held earlier in the day by the Friends of Kidderminster Library Gallery outside the town hall.
At the meeting, Liberal councillor Fran Oborski put forward the motion to object describing the planned replacement as "totally inadequate".
After two members had declared an interest the motion was carried with nine voters in favour, four abstaining and one against.
County council member with responsibility for libraries and learning service, Conservative John Campion, said he had to save £1.8 million from the service.
“This is a process of consultation and this is the planning committee’s view,” he added, “We want to hear people’s views and this is exactly what we are getting.
“We need to be certain we can balance the financial circumstances we find ourselves in - through no fault of the county council - with the needs of our community.”
Tuesday’s protest coincided with a county council “have your say” event, which was dominated by the issue.
KAF Creatives chairman Heather Wastie said: “We are gathering support. There are so many people behind this now they cannot ignore us.”
People attending the “day of action” included members of the arts community, who argue the gallery is purpose built and its quality could not be retained if moved elsewhere.