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500 march in protest over plans to move Welshpool library - with video and pictures

By Deborah Hardiman | Welshpool | News | Published:

About 500 protesters took a part in a march against moves to move Welshpool's library into the town's museum, as the organisers pledged to apply for a judicial review.

Residents took to the streets and walked from the library, in Brook Street, to Powysland Museum where several speakers addressed the huge crowd that turned out in support of the campaign.

Organisers from the Save Welshpool Library Supporters' Group said repeated attempts to stop the move have fallen on deaf ears after Powys County Council made plans to relocate the service.

Now the group plans to push for a judicial review and to invoke it's town's charter in a bid to force the county authority to hold talks with the campaigners and Welshpool Town Council.

Welshpool library protest

Brian Timmis, of Save Welshpool Library Supporters' Group, said: "We had about about 500 people on the march, which was a brilliant response considering that 6,500 people live here. There was a great number, from young children in pushchairs to older folks in wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and everybody in between.

"We heard a number of speeches including from the mayor Councillor Stephen Kaye, town clerk Robert Robinson, Councillor Richard Church and from Lowri John whose idea it was to arrange the march.

"The town council has helped enormously and we now know that we are going to ask for a judicial review over the decision to move the library and the town council has also issued a demand that the county council's cabinet engage with the town over this issue. They are going to be asked that before they 'reduce or cut' services, to 'give Welshpool the option to take them over first' before taking any decision.

"We have been trying to get them to attend a public meeting and they have consistently refused to do so."

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The march in Welshpool

The county council wants to free up the library site to house staff currently based in council buildings Neuadd Maldwyn, which it is planning to sell off.

And says relocating the library is the best option to preserve jobs.

Almost 4,000 people have so far signed a petition and 100 people attended a public meeting last week to discuss the move.

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The move, which is likely to take place later this year, completes a review of county council owned buildings in the north of Powys.

In December Powys County Council’s cabinet approved the closure of Neuadd Maldwyn – its main building in Welshpool.

A public consultation exercise over the plan was held last autumn.

Mr Timmis added: "There is a lot of passion and a lot of anger over the library closure. It is a much more roomier site than the space being allocated in the museum. People also use the library to carry out their online affairs and job searches.

"It's going to be tight on space."

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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