SALISBURY City Council unanimously rejected "rushed and third rate" proposals for the Library and Young Gallery to be relocated during a planning committee meeting last night.

At the meeting in the Guildhall, one member of the public called the plans "an insult to Salisbury", and another raised concerns that "with no new permanent site found and no finances provided, there are fears the library will go the same way as the police station and the old bus station".

Several members of the public who spoke at the meeting also expressed fears over the long term future of the library, as well as opposing the proposed reduction in size, which one man said was "frankly unacceptable".

The rejection comes as it was revealed last week that the relocation of the library would only be a temporary measure, and that its final home will be in the "cultural quarter" planned as part of the Maltings development.

At the meeting, cabinet member for south Wiltshire recovery and economic development, Pauline Church, said the council was "committed to a good library for Salisbury", and confirmed that funds were in place for the redevelopment.

Labour councillor Ian Tomes suggested the city council register its objection to the plan, on the grounds it conflicts with core Wiltshire Council policies.

These include the Salisbury Skyline policy, which seeks to protect the roofscape of the city, (commonly known as the 40-foot rule), ensuring the conservation of the historic environment, and ensuring high quality design to effectively integrate the building into its setting.

Cllr Tomes added: "There are inconsistencies and errors throughout the documents... If we, Salisbury City Council, support this, then we will have to be consistent with other applications, otherwise any developer could go to appeal using this application as precedent and that I believe will result in the tearing up of our conservation areas within the city."

A statement from city council leader Jeremy Nettle said the application was "an attempt to shoehorn three retail outlets and the public library into one building".

He added: "Whilst I appreciate this is an important corner stone to enable the long awaited development of the Maltings, this council believes we need to ensure and maintain not only the core library services but also its associated functions and be the resource centre for Salisbury and neighbouring communities."

The final decision on whether to approve or reject the plans will be made by Wiltshire Council.