KIDDERMINSTER Library’s gallery and piano could make way for Worcestershire County Council offices and staff despite being funded by a National Lottery art grant.

The council is consulting until Tuesday, May 1, on a change of use to the building’s second floor, which would see 90 desks and 139 staff from adult and social care and children’s services moving in.

Plans show the Steinway grand piano would be moved to a new first floor “conference room”, next to the computer section. A gallery space would be made available in the ground floor atrium area.

Arts Council England confirmed a Lottery grant of £326,583 was awarded in July, 1996, to Hereford and Worcester County Council for “the provision of public art at the library and to enhance facilities for exhibition, performance and development of literature within the building”.

Conservative councillor John Campion, cabinet member for localism and communities, said the library service had to save £1.8 million.

“We either make libraries like Kidderminster pay their fair share or close smaller libraries like Bewdley, which I am not going to do,” he said.

“The plans do not run counter to the purpose of the grant. We are looking at how we provide that gallery space and bring art to the front rather than tucked away at the top.”

Gallery user Norman Berisford said: “I do not know what people on the first floor would do if the piano was there - they are loud instruments.

“Some of the council’s proposals could not work. It is amazing with the empty offices owned by the county and [Wyre Forest District] council they do not communicate and instead have to move staff here.”

Mr Campion said the council was looking to reduce the number of buildings it owned or leased.

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