Campaigners ready to hand in Lichfield Library petition to Staffordshire County Council

Campaigners are preparing to hand in a petition aiming to halt plans to move Lichfield Library.

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 unveiled the proposals to switch the facility to St Mary’s in the Market Square, with the current site at The Friary redeveloped as residential accomodation.

A Save Lichfield Library petition was set up by Robert Pass, chair of the Lichfield and Burntwood branch of the Green Party calling on the authority to hold a public consultation.

More than 6,300 signatures have ben collected – enough to trigger a fresh debate at the council.

Campaigners collecting signatures

Campaigners collecting signatures

Simon Partridge, spokesman for the campaign, said: “We collected another 600 signatures on Saturday and the campaign is showing no signs of running out of steam, but council rules dictate that the petition must be submitted this week if it’s to be debated at the next full meeting of the county council. Otherwise, who know what the total might have reached?

“We have just over 6,300 names. People from across the UK have shown their support by signing the online petition and on the streets of Lichfield visitors to the city have been keen to sign too. They are as appalled as we are that an act of such blatant cultural vandalism is threatened in the city of Samuel Johnson’s birth.”

County Council rules on public petitions require that at least 5,000 signatures must be from people living or working in Staffordshire in order to force a council debate on the petition.

The campaigners say they are confident of hitting the target.

Mr Partridge added: “We’ve carefully checked the postcodes of everyone who has signed and nearly 90% are Staffordshire based. That gives us significantly more than the required figure of 5,000.

“We will be handing the petition in this week and look forward to presenting it to the full council on May 19 for them to debate.

“We believe the people of Lichfield deserve to be consulted on this hugely important issue and it will soon be a matter of public record whether or not the council agrees.”

Staffordshire County Council has denied that it has failed to consult over the future of the library.

Cllr Ben Adams, the 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.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

3 Comments

  1. Mat

    26th April, 2016 at 8:59 am

    “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.”
    Don’t you just love this guy. I think he needs to visit the reference section of the library (which probably won’t fit into St Mary’s) and look up the word “debate.” Perhaps we can point out that 6000 signatures is considerably more people than voted for any of the councillors.

  2. ResidentGood

    26th April, 2016 at 10:18 am

    As a Lichfield resident and voter, that has signed the petition asking for a “public and democratic consultation” I would expect that the democratically elected Staffordshire County Councillors would ensure that it is considered fairly and openly, this is a public owned asset, and the campaigners have only raised an issue that has never been consulted over, in selling the Friary and moving the library, considerably different from the consultation I partook some time ago about Changing the hours of opening and the mobile library.

    I would expect the autocratic Councillor Ben Adams to be doing far more at a public meeting than repeating the exact same line that he has been regurgitating parrot fashion for months in the media, 6300 people have heard it and are still none the wiser. Lay out the plans, put them up to debate and open vote for the public record, the very least that should happen in our democratic council.

  3. Mat

    26th April, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    ResidentGood- beautifully put!

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