Campaigners say a 5,000 signature petition shows the strength of local anger over plans to relocate Lichfield Library.
Staffordshire County Council has put forward proposals to move the facility to St Mary’s in the Market Square, allowing its current home at The Friary to be converted into residential accommodation.
But a petition organised by the Lichfield and Burntwood branch of the Green Party has now amassed 5,000 signatures, enough to trigger a fresh debate at the council once a verification process has taken place when it is handed in.
Simon Partridge, spokesman for the Greens in the area, said the council now needed to think again.
“The fact that we have passed the 5,000 signatures mark in only a month shows the strength of local feeling there is on this issue,” he said. “The reaction we’ve had from people on the streets of Lichfield has been overwhelmingly supportive of our call for a consultation – people want transparency from their county council.
“Many, many people in this city are angry that decisions regarding the future of a vital public service and a much-loved Lichfield landmark have been taken behind closed doors without any regard for their views. They’re angry that the relocation of the library and the sale of The Friary have been presented as a done deal.
“We share their frustration at this appalling lack of democracy and look forward to hearing what councilors have to say when they debate the petition.”
Although the volume of signatures has reached the target, Mr Partridge said the Greens would continue to collect them until the end of the month.
“The voices of Lichfield citizens have been utterly ignored so far,” he added. “We want to give as many people as possible the chance to add their name to our call for a public consultation.”
Staffordshire County Council has insisted the plans would secure both St Mary’s and The Friary in the long term.
Cllr Ben Adams, Cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: “This proposal guarantees the presence of the library in the centre of Lichfield for the next 30 years and safeguards the future of two landmark buildings at the same time.
“If the petition has gathered enough signatures for a debate I welcome the opportunity to explain again what is happening and why I firmly believe this is in the best interests of the city and the taxpayer.”