Library move will secure historic Friary building in Lichfield, says Staffordshire County Council deputy leader

The future of The Friary building will be secure if Lichfield Library moves into St Mary’s, according to the deputy leader of Staffordshire County Council.

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

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

There has been opposition to the move from the Green Party, who have launched an online petition over the issue.

The proposals would see the library switch into the Market Square site with the current building then converted for residential use.

Cllr Ian Parry

Cllr Ian Parry

Cllr Ian Parry, deputy leader at Staffordshire County Council, said the move would secure the site long term.

“Instead of leaving buildings mothballed or allowing them to fall into disrepair, we have a county wide programme aimed at breathing new life into surplus and underused buildings to bring new jobs, homes and fresh investment into the county.

“Our review of buildings has been in the public domain for some time and given our proposals in Lichfield will not only allow residents to benefit from a more central ground floor library, but will also safeguard the future of the Friary building, which is need of almost £1.4million of repairs.

“It is a little surprising that the Green Party should suddenly object.”

The Green Party has also questioned the move to sell the building, claiming it was gifted to the people of the city and should not be moved into private hands.

But Cllr Parry said the original terms had long been withdrawn.

“In terms of the covenant, the Green Party should be aware this was actually superseded by a new agreement with Lichfield District Council more than 20 years ago,” he said. “Despite the fact the covenant no longer exists, the county council plans to reinvest proceeds from the Friary in the city of Lichfield for the benefit of everyone.

“This proposal has been welcomed by The Guild of St Mary’s and Lichfield District Council because it’s a long term commitment to provide a first class library in the heart of the city and retain the vitality of landmark buildings.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. Nomad

    9th March, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Could I ask anyone who gives a dam about Lichfield to sign and pass this around please

  2. Frustrated

    9th March, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Make the new library too small and cramped, so not fit for purpose.

    Give it a couple of years and he will be saying, sadly there have not been the number of users for the library, so we will be closing it and creating some more new apartments.

    My kids love going to the library, the building fascinates them.

    Yet another sad loss to the people of Lichfield and a great gain to the greedy developers.

  3. Mike

    9th March, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Ian Parry’s statement saying “Our review of buildings has been in the public domain for some time” reminds me of the opening Chapter to the late Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy:

    But the plans were on display . . .” said Councillor Protor
    “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.” Replied Arthur
    “That’s the display department.”
    “With a torch.”
    “Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”
    “So had the stairs.”
    “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
    “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard.”

    Whimsical, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Friary has been allowed to get into a state that requires £1.4 million of repairs(can we see the break down of this please?), so the Council can “justifiably” offload it to private developers.

    This sort of governance has to stop. These are the things we pay our council tax for. We want a consultation and as residents of Lichrield we want our library to stay where it ism

  4. savelichlibrary

    10th March, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Typical council move!
    Needs repair do lets sell it off, but in the meantime build a whacking great new Friary centre instead of repairing what we have and lowering rates for companies so they actually stay there .. all wasted money.
    The building, the library, community hub is ours .. not for the council to smash it down because it’s an eye sore in their modernisation .. Lichfield isn’t modern’s beautifully quaint and the council don’t see that as they are blinded by £££ signs!

  5. Nomad

    10th March, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Lichfield people are never consulted on the development of this beautiful city ,its time we were, before every historical feature is lost under a pile of concrete or left to go in to ill repair so they can justify selling it off for redevelopment ,wasted money on a failed paving projects,unkempt and pothole riddled roads what do the council spend our taxes on civic cars and pomp and ceremony ,they should start looking after this city and its people and not as I suspect be thinking what’s in it for me .

  6. AgitatorofPeople

    10th March, 2016 at 11:57 am

    “It’s a bit surprising that the Green Party should suddenly object”

    I think he is more surprised that so many Lichfield people have got behind the campaign to “Save Lichfield Library” and why is it only the Green Party have shone the spotlight on the whole miserable scheme? “Me thinks he doth protest too much” They only want a fair public consultation after all!!

  7. AgitatorofPeople

    10th March, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    “Save Lichfield Library” Facebook page has a link to St Marys Lichfield Diocese page, they own 573 churches!! dont believe me go have a look!!

  8. Thornton

    11th March, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I’m all for the library moving to the new site and for the old friary school to be converted into flats. It will endure the building is kept looking great and not fall into disrepair.

    I really don’t see the problem here. The library still stays open and people get to live in the city centre on a great site. What’s the problem here?

  9. Nomad

    11th March, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    The problem is one again we’ve been rough shod over by councilors who either don’t live in Lichfield or have been here a relatively short space of time ,and are systematically taking this city and his history as matter of fact, as I said before restore and use these buildings for the benefit if the city ,St Marys is way to small to house the library and its records office seriously of what who will benefit from luxury apartments costing no doubt the price of a three bedroomed house only the developers and those with a vested interest in them not Lichfield .

  10. Thornton

    11th March, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    “Who will benefit from luxury apartments”? Surely the owners of them. If there was no demand for this type of property they wouldn’t be created.

    I think we have to realise that the library in the traditional sense is dying. We’re not a university town so would get little use from students. Those left are the retired. A records office is important but having this in the friary school is a waste as the building is far too big. Any records could be digitised and the originals archived saving a huge amount of space.

    I’m happy for the old friary school to be turned back into a school or if this isn’t needed then apartments is a great idea.

  11. ExiledFromLichfield

    11th March, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I’m from Lichfield and work in the city.
    I would love to be able to own my own place in the city too. But “luxury flats” are way out of my range and I’m even outpriced (and often outbid by buy-to-let speculators) at the lower end of the market.
    As a result, I’ve had to buy a place in another town that now sees me doing 30-min commute into the city and then again back home.
    Also, I work near the library and use it on a regular basis. Its a great library.
    This plan doesn’t help me at all.

  12. Nomad

    11th March, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Tell that to the university next door to it

  13. Nomad

    11th March, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    And of course were a city not a town

  14. Nomad

    11th March, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Here’s a novel idea make it in to a halls of residence therefore attracting more students, sorry that wont make the fat cats enough money

  15. Nomad

    11th March, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    When a,council can afford to use 300,000 of our money funding the Garrick and propose using 750,000 to house five refugee families it tells me they can afford to do something constructive with the friary building .