PRESSURE is mounting on Staffordshire County Council to clarify plans for Stafford's Shire Hall Gallery after a campaign to save it received a swell of support over the holiday period.
Launched by local residents and Staffordshire County Councillor for Stafford Central Maureen Compton, the campaign is a response to plans by the council to vacate the gallery and possibly even sell it.
A Facebook page started by the group called Save Stafford Shire Hall received more than 1,000 likes in its first two days and is at nearly 1,500 in just over a week.
Councillor Compton said: “When the courts vacated the Shire Hall, it was decided to create a cultural quarter in Stafford with the library, gallery and theatre all together.
“The people of Stafford value and treasure the Shire Hall Gallery and Library and cannot understand why the County Council has proposed that the Library be moved and the Gallery be closed,” she said.
“Our cultural heritage is precious and must be fought for.”
Councillor Compton urged local people to get behind the efforts to save the gallery, saying the campaign would continue and intensify until the fate of the gallery was clear.
She said to show support for the campaign people should ‘like’ the Facebook page and sign their names to an online petition before January 28 at Staffordshire County Council’s website.
The wording of the petition is: “We the undersigned petition the council to reconsider and reverse the proposals to remove the Library, Gallery and other facilities from the Shire Hall and sell the building.
“The Shire Hall in its present form is an essential part of Stafford's Cultural Quarter (Public Library, Gallery, Theatre and William Salt Library).
“ In addition it houses the Sensory Room which is an indispensible resource for children especially those with Special Needs.
“The sale of the Shire Hall may lead to a use which is not appropriate to a building of such historic and cultural significance to the people of Stafford.”
The petition can be accessed