NATURISTS have hit back at the rejection of a proposal for a nude reading group in Dudley library.

Author Anthony Crowley, who suggested a naked reading group at the St James's Road building, has accused the councillor in charge of libraries of treating nudists like people from another world.

Mr Crowley, aged 34, hoped the group could use a room at the library on Saturday mornings but cabinet member cllr Stuart Turner turned the idea down.

Mr Crowley said: "He makes naturism and naturists seem like aliens - he certainly hasn't lived.

"There needs to be a facility for naturism within Dudley or local surrounding areas, I thought of the idea due to the extreme heatwave and hot weather and there's nothing like reading a book or magazine in comfortable surroundings, and that's exactly the same way for naturists."

Mr Crowley said group members would bring towels to sit on and robes just in case the building had to be evacuated in an emergency.

British Naturism spokesman Andrew Welsh said: "There are hundreds of reading groups up and down the country, this is probably the first one in a public library.

"We understand it is not everybody's cup of tea, we understand the sensitivities."

However Mr Welsh insisted there is no law preventing public nudity, he added: "The law has to prove the person taking their clothes off was intending to upset everybody."

Councillor Stuart Turner, Dudley cabinet member for libraries and archives, said: "While we have more than 40 reading groups in Dudley libraries and are always keen to support them, on balance we did not feel it would be an appropriate use of a public building so have declined the request as we feel a private setting would be more appropriate."

Andrew Welsh said: "Everybody is naked under their clothes, it can't be indecent. Just because it is unusual it shouldn't be stopped."