Willenhall Library hopes hit by sell-off blow

Hopes of expanding a library have been thwarted after it emerged part of the building has been sold off by council bosses.

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Opposition Labour councillors have been left dismayed by the sale of space originally used by the old neighbourhood office at Willenhall Library.

It is part of the building combined with the library in Walsall Street and it has now emerged some of the site was sold as part of the agreement for Willenhall Leisure Centre.

Ward councillors today said they have only now been alerted to the fact some of the building is no longer owned by the authority. Although sport and development officers have still been using the facility.

Deputy Labour leader Sean Coughlan, who represents the Willenhall South ward, said it had been hoped the whole site would have remained for leisure purposes. He insisted they were not told the building was part of the sale of the nearby leisure centre.

Councillor Coughlan said: “We have been cut off at the knee, we can’t talk about expanding the library service. While it was in council hands there was an opportunity to do anything we wanted.

“But it is in private ownership now. A lot of people will be dismayed.”

Tim Johnson, executive director at Walsall Council said: “The sale plan approved by cabinet does indeed include office space that is currently used by officers from the sports development service with the express agreement of the new owner.

“While the sale includes part of the accommodation which we understand is used by ward members for surgeries, we have retained office space accessed from the shared lobby with the Library that can continue to meet these needs.”