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Shire Hall campaigner has mixed feelings about plans for the Stafford building

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: May 22, 2014

Councillor Maureen Compton

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A CAMPAIGNER who fought to stop the sale of Stafford’s Shire Hall has said she has “mixed feelings” about its new chapter.

County councillor Maureen Compton’s petition against the sell-off of the iconic Market Square building netted almost 3,000 signatures.

It was launched in response to Staffordshire County Council’s cost-cutting proposals to move arts and library services out of Shire Hall.

But yesterday the county council announced that the University of Wolverhampton would be leasing the building. The university plans to open a Stafford hub in the building to include an advice and information centre and, in the future, run courses.

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The public will still have access to the building however, as the former law courts and sensory room will remain open. Exhibitions will continue to be staged in the building.

Councillor Compton said today that she was glad the building was not to be sold, but remained concerned about future library provision.

“The proposal for the library to be moved to Staffordshire Place is still going on, and that is what people are concerned about,” she said.

“They don’t think it is an appropriate place for the library and I’m worried about how much of the present library is going there. I think a lot of people like the library being (at Shire Hall).

“The University of Wolverhampton plan is better than what might have been there. They were originally talking about selling Shire Hall and that is what we were opposed to, particularly if it was going to be a bar or something like that.

“I still think there needs some clarity but it is positive that it is not being sold. It is a good option; I would hate for the public to not be able to access the building.”

Newsletter readers took to Twitter to share their reactions to the plans.

Diana Smith said: “It seems like a sensible solution. Let’s hope it works out OK.”

Sarah Bailey said: “Sounds good.”

Josie Shelley added: “At least it’s staying open.”

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