Councillor would “welcome the opportunity” to outline future of Lichfield Library if petition succeeds

A councillor says he would “welcome the opportunity” to outline plans for the future of Lichfield Library if a petition triggers a debate on the issue.

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

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

Campaigners are hoping to gain 5,000 signatures in order to force Staffordshire County Council to discuss the proposals.

The authority has drawn up plans to move Lichfield Library to St Mary’s in the Market Square. The current home at The Friary would then be redeveloped as residential accomodation.

Members of the Lichfield and Burntwood branch of the Green Party have created an online petition and have been out gathering signatures on the streets of the city in a bid to force a public consultation on the the library’s future.

Cllr Ben Adams

Cllr Ben Adams

But Cllr Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for learning and skills, says he would welcome the chance to showcase the reality of the plans.

“While the Save Lichfield Library petition ambiguously suggests the city is to lose its library, the reality of course couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

“At a time when many authorities are closing libraries, our proposal will not only see £1m invested to provide a first class facility in the very heart of the city, but will also help safeguard both St Mary’s and The Friary.

“Petitions which receive at least 5,000 signatures from local people are discussed at our full council and if this is the case here, I would absolutely welcome a further opportunity to share our plans to create a modern, accessible library space for families in Lichfield to enjoy for years to come.”

Robert Pass

Robert Pass

But the Green Party’s chairman in Lichfield and Burntwood, Robert Pass, said that the council should have consulted with local residents and library users before now.

“The sell off has never been put to the people of Lichfield,” he said.

“The use of libraries has changed, but a small church building is completely unsuitable for the requirements of Lichfield’s main library.

“There are many services in modern libraries other than borrowing books. The county council should focus on enabling the potential of The Friary building as a community hub.

“St Mary’s Church does not have the capacity to realise this potential, as well as housing the city’s main museum and tourist information office.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

5 Comments

  1. Nomad

    1st April, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Another one that doesn’t realise the limited space available in St Marys and hasn’t taken in to account the other services it provides .

  2. Crispy

    1st April, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Interesting! £1m to invest in the Library, whereas the current library needs £1.4m in repairs!

  3. Mat

    2nd April, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Which is what the petition has demanded- open and full democratic consultation. I don’t know about you, but when I move house, I like to have a really good idea about what I’m moving too, how much it will cost, if all my stuff will fit in and who will have responsibility for the building. Who would own St Mary’s if the library moves there? The people of Lichfield?

  4. Frustrated

    2nd April, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    If it is such a brilliant proposal and all of the people of Lichfield, will be so delighted by it. Do not wait for the 5000 names, show it to us now.

    Show how those of us, who signed the petition, are misguided, how we will be proved wrong with the plans.

    Let us know how much the council are to pay St Marys, how often these charges will be reviewed.

    Let us know what safeguards, have been put in place.

    Prove us all wrong. I would love to be proved wrong here, would love to see this is going to be an improvement and not a cut.

  5. AgitatorofPeople

    5th April, 2016 at 11:52 am

    In every single article about the library Cllr Ben Adams states “help safeguard both St Mary’s and The Friary”
    St Mary’s is owned by Lichfield diocese with 573 other churches, and safeguarded by the Church of Englands own massive £6.7 Billion investment portfolio.
    Why should we at public council tax payers expense invest £1 Million into St Mary’s??
    If he is throwing £1 Million away on this, how much do they expect to obtain from the sale of the Friary building?
    And once again the statement that it will cost £1.4 million to repair the Friary, are they rebuilding it brick by brick?
    So many press releases and hot air by this councillor without a single publicly available document outlining the proposal. And I think our local Green Party have already made it quite clear Cllr Adams that there is no ambiguity with the petition, which I have also read and signed, it simply states
    “We the undersigned, demand an open and democratic public consultation on the future of the Lichfield library before any decisions are made on the future of the library building”
    You can check the wording, it’s freely available online, open and publicly accessible.
    And yes, we the constituents also welcome the opportunity to review the evidence and make public record the councils response on this matter.

%d bloggers like this: