Protesters raise their voices on controversial Burton Market Library proposals
Protesters have taken to the city center over controversial plans that could see the Burton Library move to a new location.
About 50 people joined the “Save Our Market” group to protest in the market square against proposals to move the library from its current High Street building to the historic market hall.
This would mean that traders would move elsewhere in the city. The plans were presented by the Burton Town Deal Board, which successfully bid for £ 22.8million to spend on projects to improve the town and attract more buyers to boost the economy.
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The library plan would involve closing the current large building and creating a marina-style development. The activists do not want to lose the library or the current market.
City boards say the library plan, which would cost £ 7.3million to implement, would secure the future of the market hall and draw more people to the heart of the city center .
However, the group disputed this, saying the library is one of the most popular in the county.
One of the protesters, Andy Price, said: “It’s fantastic to see how many people have come and it shows that we have some passionate people here in Burton. It’s a very good turnout. It shows that he there is a passion for this city.
“There is a lot of opposition here and I think our county council should listen more to the public before making decisions like this in the future.”
Ellie Mays, who was also protesting, said many more people were against the plans, but Covid fears meant many had not come out to campaign.
She said: “There is a strong feeling and good ideas that have been put forward to inspire the regeneration of the city center and bring more footfall to the city. People have very strong opinions because they love the hall and want to keep it for its intended use. “
She added that the live music and boxing events in the market hall proved to be a great success and there was also an opportunity for artisan markets and artisans to sell their wares there.
The library, she said, is also perfectly located where it is, with plenty of parking lots and people using it after visiting the recreation center.
Ellie said: “I’m sure a lot of hard work went into the planning, but they gave us an option and there is no choice. It would be nice to have a B and C option.
“It’s a beautiful building and I would love to see artisans’ stalls like you have everywhere else. The answer is to encourage different and new traders. It will attract people because it is something different.”
Ben Robinson, Chairman of the Burton Town Deal Board, said: “I was unable to accept the invitation from Richard Grosvenor and his colleagues to attend their protest meeting.
“In my response to Richard Grosvenor, I explained that I had organized a community event before our home game against Gillingham, but in any event, I would not accept the invitation as there were many opportunities for members of the public to express their views on any projects that have been successful in obtaining government approval in principle as well as the ability to submit views online.
“A public meeting was also held at Pirelli Stadium in August, so members of the public had plenty of opportunities to see the blueprints firsthand on display in different locations and to speak face to face with council staff. “
Mr Robinson added: “In the past eight weeks, 15 publicly announced consultation events have been organized by the county council.
“The board has stated on several occasions that it is ready to listen and appreciate all points of view, but there is a well-designed and transparent procedure for doing this and everyone has had the opportunity to to be involved.
“I’m more than happy to meet members of the public that I haven’t talked to about the plans and they can call me on the Burton Albion number and arrange a stopover at Pirelli Stadium and I’d be happy to see them.
“Likewise, I know that Cllr Allen would be very happy to chat directly with individuals and I think he does so periodically.”
He continued: “May I also repeat that mere opposition to the proposal gets us nowhere and we have to be aware of the long term future of the hall and library services and if this E proposal is rejected, then the future of both will be in jeopardy without any realistic alternative plan. “