Campaigners vow to keep up fight for consultation over future of The Friary

The Green Party say they will continue to fight plans to convert The Friary in Lichfield into housing.

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 drawn up proposals to move the library to St Mary’s in Market Square and convert the current site into residential accomodation.

An online petition has been launched by the Lichfield and Burntwood branch of the Green Party who have also been out collecting signatures on the streets of the city.

They claim The Friary was a gift to the people of the city and should not be sold. However, documents have revealed that the county council were able to end the original covenants for £15,000 in 1995.

But the Greens say their fight will continue.

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

Simon Partridge gathering signatures for the Lichfield Library petition. Pic: Lichfield and Burntwood Green Party

“The changes in 1995 effectively granted the county council the right to do as they please with the building and its land,” said Simon Partridge, spokesperson for the Lichfield and Burntwood branch of the party. “This will no doubt come as a surprise to a great many Lichfield people who believed that the land had been given in perpetuity.

“Our position remains unchanged. We will continue to call, as we have from the beginning, for an open, public consultation on the future of Lichfield Library and The Friary.

“However, these revelations will do little to reassure those in Lichfield who feel that they are being kept in the dark when it comes to key decisions concerning the future of the city.

“We would ask people to keep signing and sharing our petition calling for a public consultation.”

Staffordshire County Council say any sale would preserve the building, which it says is in need of more than £1million of repairs.

Cllr Ian Parry, deputy leader of the authority, 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.

5 Comments

  1. Nomad

    28th March, 2016 at 10:48 am

    So much for democracy ,as seems the norm these days ,councils and politicians don’t take in to account the people who they rely on to elect them ,id once again urge local Lichfield people to stand for election in the next elections stop this undemocratic rot ,how many more buildings are up for the chop ,the most ridiculous sale in recent years has bee the old stowe building that is now being used as a Deoband Islamic Cultural Center what about our Culture .

  2. Rob

    28th March, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Nothing’s too much trouble for the religion of peace.

  3. Mat Hayward

    28th March, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Changes to covenants do not change the spirit in which they were given. It does not erase them from history. We demand an open and thorough democratic consultation on the future of one of our buildings. It’s really that simple.

  4. FiveSpiresLive

    28th March, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Anyone found a copy of the 1926 Conveyance? It would be interesting to discover if LDC was the only party to continue to enjoy the benefit of the covenants when they were purportedly released in 1995. Any land sold off by LDC or its predecessor body between 1926 and 1995 may still have a claim to enforce the covenant as to use.

  5. AgitatorofPeople

    28th March, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    You can’t possibly be suggesting that LDC have spent £15,000 of our public purse to terminate the covenant in a previously little known transaction and in actual fact buggered up the whole process by forgetting a later conveyance?
    Almost sounds like a Freedom Of Information request in the making FiveSpiresLive!

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