Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant says planned library move is a “win-win” situation

Plans to move Lichfield Library from its current home have been branded a “win-win proposal” by the city’s MP.

The Friary building which currently houses Lichfield Library. Pic: Elliott Brown

The Friary building which currently houses Lichfield Library. Pic: Elliott Brown

Staffordshire County Council has unveiled proposals to relocate the facility to St Mary’s in the Market Square.

The current Friary site would then be sold off for residential developments.

The Lichfield branch of the Green Party has voiced its opposition to the plans, with chairman Robert Pass saying the building was a gift to the people of the city and should remain in public hands.

Michael Fabricant MP

Michael Fabricant MP

In response to a question from Mr Pass on social media, Michael Fabricant MP said he would not oppose the move.

“A win-win proposal,” he said. “St Mary’s is put on a sound footing and The Friary will be restored.”

The Greens have launched an online petition over the proposals.

Mr Pass said: “It is not just a library building, but a fantastic community hub.

“The plan to relocate to St Mary’s in the Market Square will be compromised. The proposed footprint is half the size, so the space for books, computers and community groups will be greatly diminished.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

13 Comments

  1. Colin Ball

    8th March, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    By saying this is a “win-win proposal” does Mr Fabricant mean a win for the County Council, who will get at least some cash to plug some of the holes from his Tory Government cuts and a win for developers who will get a prime residential site and an opportunity to make profits from a heritage building. I can’t see how local people “win”, when we end up with a library probably less than half the size we have now!

  2. Dinsmore

    8th March, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Tory MP supports Tory councillor mates? What a shocker!

  3. Mike

    8th March, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    The Library was moved from Beacon Street because that was too small. The Friary is the best place for the library. It’s a historic building, and being next to the campus is ideal. To turn it into residential housing, well who gets to see and enjoy this building then? I would have hoped my council tax would keep things as they are. If the records office moves, can’t the district council offices move in there? They could then sell that building off in Wade St for development, which is already a residential area

  4. AgitatorofPeople

    8th March, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Win win? paying tax payers money in effect as rent to the church (one of the cities famous 5 spires, suddenly needs safeguarding?) the money should be spent on the historical public asset which it has owned for nearly 100 years.

    And why are Tory councillor’s and MP’s suddenly all friends with Lichfield Diocese and the Cathedral? Fabricant and EU hustings, Cllr Fisher proclaiming fantastic opportunity for St Mary’s ??????

    And Michael Fabricant happy for the historic Friary Building gifted to the city for ‘permanent use and benefit of the citizens of Lichfield’ to be turned into expensive private retirement housing while pensioners fear for their rent capped premises for which he wont lift a finger to help and for which he voted for in parliament.

    Win win? in your own choice of words Mr Fabricant “Bollocks”

  5. Mat Hayward

    9th March, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Win, win. Why can’t we all enjoy our heritage, both the library and St Mary’s. If you are unemployed, the library provides much needed access to bulletins that are online. What of the schools who regularly frequent it? Once again we see public assets being sold to the few.

  6. Nomad

    10th March, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Why not house the artifacts that are stored in st marys, inside the friary library building surely a few,glass cases displaying some of the city’s heritage would be an interesting touch,the building was gifted to the people of Lichfield to be used for there benefit,I see no benefit in a few luxurious properties.

  7. Steve Norman

    10th March, 2016 at 9:17 am

    The Friary has poor “footfall” for a library because of where it is and that is a problem. If it was moved then what happens to the important public space is an issue for all City residents and visitors but not I would suggest for the local Tories. They will have no ideological problem taking from the public and selling to the well off. After all they did it with the most sensitive site in the City, Minster Pool.
    In 1999 Labour Lichfield District Council was going to build a world class art gallery for local artists to exhibit their work but instead the site was sold off for what appears to be a large public toilet with private flats on top – and with no reference to its setting.
    And all with the support of the City’s guardians of heritage -the Civic Society – and the City’s MP.

  8. AgitatorofPeople

    11th March, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Have you been to Lichfield library recently? I went Monday and it was pretty busy, people having small meetings (Top tip! It is a great space to meet up with a client in a warm comfortable setting in front of an ancient fireplace) toddlers in abundance with mums, while they may not be lending books by the barrow load, it has an important role.

    Selling it to fund the repair of a Church owned by such a BIG organisation as Lichfield Diocese that own another 572 churches (no really! go look at their website), using our public money, that is a scandalous!!!!

  9. Eddie

    12th March, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    How does flogging off the Friary ‘preserve’ it? It won’t be ours any more. It was built for the people of Lichfield and nobody has the moral right to give it away. This plan is all about money, pure and simple. A long time in the planning, this proposal has been expertly handled to make it seem like a fait accompli, playing to apathy. It’s not a done deal and it must be fought. It’s OUR Friary!

  10. In my opinion

    19th March, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Happy to sighn the petition to keep our library whilst out shopping in lichfield centre today.
    Why oh why should anyone want us to lose our fabulous library?
    It belongs to us the residents of Lichfield.
    It was a gift and they have no right to sell it off to The highest bidder.

  11. FiveSpiresLive

    20th March, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    There are two issues here:
    1. To ensure that any physical relocation of Lichfield library services enhances rather than diminishes the service
    2. What should the future be for the Friary, a building gifted to the people of Lichfield?
    To conflate the two issues is to diminish the impact of objection to each one. Fight/negotiate each on their own merits.

  12. Darryl

    21st March, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Blinkered short-term greed.

  13. Asellus aquaticus

    21st March, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    FiveSpiresLive is spot on.

    The argument that the Friary building should be preserved is not necessarily the same argument that the Library should be situated in it.

    For example, there is another story here that if the library has to move, then it could underpin the survival of St Mary’s, another important historical building right in the heart of Lichfield City. Creating an extra element of delay in the decision making could spell doom for both buildings.

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