Campaigners take to city streets in bid to prevent Lichfield Library move

Campaigners have been out in force in Lichfield after plans were unveiled to move the city’s library.

People signing the Lichfield Library petition. Pic: Lichfield and Burntwood Green Party

People signing the Lichfield Library petition. Pic: Lichfield and Burntwood Green Party

Staffordshire County Council has proposed switching the facility to St Mary’s in the Market Square with the current site at The Friary then being converted into residential accommodation.

An online petition organised by members of the Lichfield and Burntwood Green Party has already gathered almost 1,800 signatures.

But campaigners have been in Lichfield city centre gathering more names.

“The response has been excellent so far,” a spokesperson said. “People are passionate about keeping The Friary away from the developers and in public hands.”

Staffordshire County Council say the building needs around £1.4million of repairs meaning the library would need to move.

Cllr Ian Parry, the council’s deputy leader, said: “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.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

13 Comments

  1. Eddie

    12th March, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    We the people object! It’s not a Green Party issue. This is a smokescreen to deflect from the blatant sell-off that is proposed – dressed up as rationalisation. St Mary’s is totally unsuitable as a Library – it is very poorly lit, with poor natural light. I’m no expert, but a Library should be a (naturally) well lit space, so people can read properly. What are the plans? Are they available ? This is a stitch up, the mooted move a sop, to enable the unloading of a historic building, and the lining of developer’s pockets – and we’ll end up paying for it all. Outrageous…

  2. Mat Hayward

    12th March, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Safe guarding a public building by selling it to private hands. We should preserve our heritage at all costs. Lets have an open and in-depth consultation where the public can properly scrutinise all proposals. I for one would like to study the costings of the 1.4 million pounds apparently needed. How many quotes were taken?

  3. Mat Hayward

    12th March, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Eddie you are quite right. This campaign has galvanised the public of all political parties but it is the Green Party who have organised the petition.

  4. Thornton

    12th March, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Sell, sell sell. A library is not the building its housed in. A library is the collection of information. The building will be better used when people are able to make homes of it and cherish it as their own.

  5. Chris Williams

    12th March, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    They moved out of the library at Beacon Street because it was too small in 1989. Since then, the population of the city has increased by 5,000!

    St Mary’s Church is blatantly too small!!

  6. AgitatorofPeople

    12th March, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Thornton, only a few, a mere “handful” of VERY well off people from a city population of over 32,000 will own a very visible historic grade II listed building that was originally given to the people of Lichfield. And you are way wrong “Collection of Information” have you even been into the building? this Library is a community hub, it’s a science fair or a Dinosaur exhibition, it’s a place for mums and toddlers to meet, its an art gallery, it teaches adults how to use I.T. and provides multiple meeting places in a fully accessible space open for anybody regardless of Race, Gender, Ability, Age, or Religion.
    “Lichfield is Staffordshire’s premier heritage city nestled in the heart of the country’s most creative county” heritage or creativity does not come from sell sell selling its history or closing its educational sites that promote creativity.

  7. mike

    13th March, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I think the whole community has been “cherishing” it for generations. It is the council who have deliberately allowed this great facility to become underused so they can argue for its sell off to the private sector. Properly managed, that building could easily continue to be at the heart of Lichfield life with clubs, courses and activities based there. One off sales to balance the books has been tried for the last five years and failed to change anything. Its time for a more imaginative approach. If the councilors cannot see that perhaps they should make room for those who can?

  8. Mat Hayward

    13th March, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    In addition, placing the library in St Mary’s means a potential conflict of interest. People have a definite view of what a library is but to tag it onto an already existing building with its own use means it may well be a very poor choice.
    Who would own the building, as currently St Mary’s is owned by the Lichfield Diocese?

  9. Nomad

    13th March, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    In total agreement Mike ,the present council has no vision ,perhaps its time to lean away from party politics and have local independent councillors for each ward if only people would come forward and stand.

  10. Thornton

    13th March, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    All the things you describe happen there can easily happen elsewhere. The building isnt being knocked down, if anything its being improved and will have any needed repairs carried out. From what i can see, the library has only been there since the late 70s. Surely after a year of the library moving location everyone will forget it used to be somewhere else. As for only VERY well off people owning the building. I disagree. The building will be turned into apartments and each apartment sold off. If they werent expected to sell they wouldnt be changed into apartments.

  11. Nomad

    14th March, 2016 at 7:29 am

    As the friary was gifted to the people of the city of Lichfield,we should have the right to a democratic vote to decide its usage in the future not be told

  12. AgitatorofPeople

    14th March, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Thornton, you are quite right, we should sell off all of our heritage and develop all of the historical buildings/land in Lichfield, after all the Guild Hall is located in the heart of the city, look at all that floor space going to waste, how about St Marys? as pub/club/flats win win! or Beacon Park a developers wet dream, lets gut this city for assets.
    Or how about we responsibly maintain the Lichfield, birth place of Samuel Johnson, father of the English dictionary. Consult a dictionary and you will find what Restore or Restoration means:- “The action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition”
    It belongs to the people of Lichfield, and it was never flats for private sale!

  13. Bob The Builder

    15th March, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Can we fix it?

    Yes we can, but we would rather sell it to developers and buy to let investors.

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