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Council bosses back down over Save Shire Hall petition row

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

By Robin Scott

1127244-LJ_301007-Ian Parry-03
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COUNCIL bosses have backed down over a row that saw a Stafford councillor claim she was ‘evicted’ when she tried to collect petition signatures to save the Shire Hall inside the building itself.

Staffordshire County Councillor Maureen Compton told the Newsletter she was ‘outraged’ when she was asked to leave the Shire Hall and stand away from the building while collecting names for her petition yesterday.

Councillor Compton is heading up a campaign against the closure of the building, started when a proposal has been put forward by the county council to potentially close the site and move the library into Staffordshire Place.

But a spokesman for Staffordshire County Council denied Councillor Compton was ‘evicted’ saying she was ‘politely asked not to gather signatures from within the library, which she understood’.

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Ian Parry, Staffordshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Transformation, said: “The county council generally doesn’t permit petitions of any nature in libraries as we would quickly become inundated and it would be difficult to justify allowing one and not another.

“We also feel it is inappropriate to gather signatures within the library as this can place both members of the public and our own employees in a difficult position,” he said.

“However, in this instance we will allow a paper copy to be left in the library and the gallery as this relates to facilities in the building itself.”

Mr Parry said the county council was committed to preserving the Shire Hall for the people of Stafford for years to come.

“We are simply exploring the options available,” he said. “But as the Shire Hall is a Grade II listed building any future change of use would obviously need to be sympathetic and reflect the heritage of the building.”

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