WYRE Forest’s arts community is anxiously awaiting the unveiling of Kidderminster Library’s controversial new gallery.

The revamped library, which has undergone a £300,000 renovation to include a new first-floor art facility and meeting rooms, will reopen tomorrow.

Offices for Worcestershire County Council adult and children social care, health and property services staff now occupy the former gallery space on the top floor.

The council has described changes as “bright, open and contemporary”but campaigners who fought the move say the only specialised arts space in Kidderminster has been“destroyed”.

When the doors swing open, the gallery’s first exhibition will be a display from Kidderminster Camera Club, featuring a variety of members’ photos.

Club spokesman Duncan McCormack said: “From a photographic point of view, we were quite happy with the final designs of the gallery. It is on the first floor so more people looking at books will be able to wander into the gallery part.”

Wyre Forest musicians, however, have said the new gallery would not be good enough acoustically and the previous facility’s Steinway grand piano has been moved to Kidderminster Town Hall.

It means the Classical Music Society has been forced to host its first live music event away from the library in 15 years.

Stephen Brown, secretary of Kidderminster Gallery Friends, who battled the changes, said: “Our view has not changed at all – the county council has destroyed the only purpose-built multi-arts space in the district. We wanted to save what we had, not replace it with something inferior.”

Kidderminster author Nigel Gilbert had feared the loss of first floor space would lead to the library’s extensive history archive diminishing.

He said: “Is there going to be enough room? Is it going to be quiet enough? We just don’t know at the moment.”

Kathy Kirk, county council strategic libraries and learning manager, said: “We are very excited. The library has been reorganised and updated to create a bright, open and contemporary space, incorporating a new gallery to showcase local art.”

Kemp Hospice’s popular charity coffeemornings will restart in the new gallery next Thursday.

The changes were part of a bid to save the council’s libraries and learning service £1.8 million over three years.