1:00pm Wednesday 27th February 2013
UNLESS something dramatic has happened in the few days since I wrote this letter, the gallery at Kidderminster Library will be destroyed soon after closure on March 4.
As things stand Worcestershire County Council has so far failed to make public the true specifications of the gallery.
Built in 1997 with the aid of £326,583 public money granted by the Arts Council, the gallery hosted a festival in September of that year at which renowned musicians played. These included Cleo Laine, Johnnny Dankworth and Lynn Harrell.
We know the acoustics were much admired, yet the council maintains the gallery has “no special acoustics”.
A Freedom of Information request has been long lodged with the council to reveal the gallery specifications. This continues to be refused even though the Gallery Friends have offered to pay the costs.
In addition, the architects involved at the time have refused to make public statements which could finally settle questions about the gallery’s design. I have sought the help of their professional organisation, RIBA, to seek such a statement.
The county council has let down the people of Wyre Forest. In the last few days I have received the latest programme from Worcester’s Huntingdon Hall. They acknowledge grateful thanks for the support of the council. The people of Worcester also enjoy a performance area in the newly built The Hive.
What does the council do for music in Wyre Forest where there is a dire shortage of suitable venues? It destroys the finest purpose-built venue for small-scale concerts.
The people of Wyre Forest have been betrayed by Messrs Campion and Hart and by the county council generally. This is currently symbolised by the banner in the entrance hall of the library advertising The Hive which covers the plaques concerning the design awards won by the building.
I have asked Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier to intervene, but so far he has hesitated to do so beyond urging the council to accept the Freedom of Information request.
The Conservative Party in Wyre Forest is shamed by the actions of their colleagues.
I urge them at this late stage to demand that the destruction of the gallery is delayed until the specifications and true quality of the gallery are acknowledged and made known.
If it is to be destroyed, let it be known that the gallery is a gem.
NIGEL GILBERT Tynings Close Kidderminster
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