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Campaigners fighting the relocation of Strood library rallied outside the council offices in Chatham

By Medway Messenger reporter

A new action group to fight against the relocation of Strood library to the High Street rallied outside the council offices.

Banner-waving protesters converged on the civic centre at Gun Wharf in Chatham to vent their anger yesterday.

Library campaigners at Gun Wharf
Library campaigners at Gun Wharf

They claim councillors have ignored their 5,000 signature petition and demonstrations at council meetings to discuss the scheme to move the library from Bryant Road to the newly-created community hub.

The decision has forced the previous tenant Strood Community Project’s charity shop, to look for an alternative premises.

Marion Shoard, a Strood resident, writer and lecturer, said: “We have a superb library. Losing the library and the community project is a double act of vandalism.”

Kim West, community project manager, accused the council of rushing through the plan without proper public consultation.

She said: “An outstanding charity shop with a footfall of over 300 people per day, providing support for vulnerable people, has been brushed aside, in favour of the policy to develop community hubs.”

Strood library in Bryant Road
Strood library in Bryant Road

The new one-stop shop will accommodate all the services at the existing purpose-built library as well as those currently provided at the Civic Centre annexe.

Cllr Jane Chitty, who is in charge of economic development, said: “The opening of the Strood community hub in this central location will bring more people into the High Street offering a real boost to local shops and businesses.

“Strood is already bucking the trend for the High Street with a great mix of independent shops and cafes, the big food chains, including the recently-opened Aldi store and bustling weekly markets.”

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