Fighting for our libraries
I was overjoyed when the campaign to save Lancashire’s libraries and children’s centres won the call-in vote which would force the members of the Lancashire County Council Cabinet to look again at the need to close these community hubs.
I was therefore amazed to see that, within minutes of the victory, the chairman gave an interview in which he said the hopes of the public had been raised for no reason as the committee would vote to close the centres anyway.
They could have at least pretended our wishes meant something as they are “democratically elected” representatives of the community.
I am a member of the group which is fighting to save our local library and knew this may happen but was shocked at how blatant the disregard for the public seems to be.
Anyone who has been following the fight to overturn the cuts knows that the Save Fulwood Library group have been in contact with our MP Ben Wallace and the Secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport on numerous occasions to ask for an enquiry as to whether the council has complied with the requirements of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
If the council expects some or all of the 50,000 visitors who used Fulwood Library last year to squeeze into Sharoe Green Library, along with the 22,000 who visited there last year, will they be providing an “adequate” service for our needs?
Sharoe Green Library must be popular if 22,000 people used it last year but it is very small. Where is the council going to put, not only the extra books, but the shelves to put them on, not to mention us, the library users?
The good news is Ben Wallace has received a letter from Rob Wilson MP (minister for Civil Society) to say he has written to Jennifer Mein, in her capacity as leader of the county council, to advise her he is treating the matter as a formal complaint.
David Borrow, the deputy leader, gave a statement with regards to the cuts. The line has been used so many times that I know now that it is not their fault – or at least in their opinion. As a member of the community, I would have liked a statement from the leader herself.
I read the minutes of a meeting that said the council had agreed to put an under spend for 2015/2016 back into reserves. This, according to a report in the LEP, was over £600,000 .
Why are they putting it into reserves and not the community?
I don’t understand a political system that allows a council not only to go against the wishes of the people, but is allowed to go ahead with its plans, even whilst the Secretary of State is looking into it. Where is the protection for us? It worries me that the leader of the council has already said “there are people waiting in the wings for the buildings”.
I hope the council does not bring forward the sale of Fulwood Library before the Government can look into it. No building, no library, no chance of opening the library again.
The council said they had made the decision to close Fulwood Library so far in advance because the staff deserved to know what their future held, so why even two days before closures did the staff still not know what was happening?
If you can’t reward staff loyalty, why care about “those waiting in the wings”? There is a full cabinet meeting today (October 13), so we will see if anyone is listening.
Mary Duckett via email
Marjorie, here’s your answer
Marjorie Nye asked questions on the battle to get Britain’s finances back on track (LEP, October 11). The below sentence explains all. On leaving his position as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, following the change of British government in May 2010, Labour’s Liam Byrne stated: “There’s no money left.”
I think that answers your questions Marjorie.
Bernard Darbyshire via email
May’s pledge rings hollow
It’s ironic that while the Government chooses to respect the outcome of one consultative process – the EU Referendum – it holds another in contempt: Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse permission to Cuadrilla to continue its fracking operations. Cuadrilla’s appeal against the LCC decision was upheld by Sajid Javid on a basis in which “...public concerns about health impacts carried little weight in the planning balance ...”
Furthermore, an opinion poll published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) back in April reveals that 81 per cent of the public do not support fracking. Theresa May’s conference speech pledge to give more control to ordinary people on matters that affect them therefore rings hollow!
The Tories are interested only in big business, and disregard public concern for health, environment or their communities, which they hold in contempt.
The public need and deserve a Government they can trust, and which respects their views – a Government which is committed to greater democracy, clean energy and a ban on fracking!
Paul Marsland, address supplied
My thanks to hospital staff
As an 80 year old, I have just spent my first ever stay in hospital and, through your columns, I would like to thank all the staff of Ward 12 who looked after me with care and friendship for the five days I was with them.
I would also like to thank the departments I went through prior to Ward 12, including the ambulance crew, A&E staff, EDU consultant and staff, radiographers and the surgeon and her crew who managed to discharge me without resorting to major surgery. Thanks to all concerned, I have nothing but praise for all at Royal Preston Hospital.
JD Baron via email
Madame le May opts for French
Congratulations to Madame le May for using French instead of British steel in our new nuclear submarines. I did not know she represents the constituency of Paris Left Bank. Steelworks are being allowed to close, yet her Government proclaims her party is for the working class.
Eddie Peart, address supplied