Readers' letters - September 13

Closing a vibrant venue

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 5:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 4:04 pm
Closing Fulwood Library  a popular and vibrant venue  makes no sense says a library user
Closing Fulwood Library  a popular and vibrant venue  makes no sense says a library user

I have lived in Fulwood since 1989 and have used Fulwood Library on a regular basis since then. I have never been particularly interested in local politics but when last year Lancashire County Council announced it would be closing my library in September of this year, my first reaction was why would they do that?

As this is a Conservative-run area and the council is a majority of Labour, joined by the Lib Dems, many people told me it was purely a political move to keep them in office in other areas.

Surely this isn’t right as the council has a duty to provide all the people of Preston with a library service they can access?

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My hopes were raised when they produced a consultation document to take my views into consideration but, even before it had ended, they had again appeared to have announced the sale of the building.

What was the point of paying for the consultation if it was already being ignored?

The people of Fulwood pay their community charge the same as all the other areas of the city, so why are we being singled out? I know that year on year the Government gives less money to councils, but shouldn’t they be less wasteful rather than take from some and not others?

I wanted to find out where the money goes and was disturbed to find that the Labour council had written off a debt of £500,000 from a failed business venture and also closed down a £2bn waste treatment scheme they had been involved in. How many libraries could they run with the money they have wasted is what I would like to know.

Fulwood Library had almost 50,000 visitors last year – more than twice Sharoe Green library.

It is heavily used by children as well as adults, community groups, mother and baby groups, job seekers and disabled people.

Why would the council choose to close such a vibrant place?

In the 1,468 page report the council produced, their own advisors questioned the closing of Fulwood library, so it appears they don’t even listen to their own advice.

It was reported in the LEP that the final plans for the bus station and youth zone had been submitted and a budget of £23m earmarked. If they have money to put a glass box on the side of the bus station, why can they not afford to keep Fulwood library?

They have offered the people of Fulwood £5,000 to run the library, but as they intend to sell the building, what do we do with our £5,000?

Coun Jenny Mein has said there is an “extremely good bus service to the Harris,” but I would have to walk for 20 minutes to the bus stop then make a 20-minute journey, due to the volume of traffic, and then walk from the bus station carrying my books. Perhaps she lives nearer the Harris than I do.

I watched the council meeting on webcam. The councillors were asked questions which they declined to answer. One in particular was what sale value had they put on the building? But they said they had no value as they hadn’t decided to sell it yet, at least not until two days later.

Why then does it appear to say they estimate the sale of buildings will be between £8m to £11m in their own report?

Apparently the Save Fulwood Library group have the backing of their MP Ben Wallace, who is lobbying the Secretary of State to see if the closure is legal, so good luck to them.

I don’t know who I will vote for next time but the closure of the library has certainly made me look closely at the council and I do not like what I see.

Mary Duckett, Fulwood

We will miss Cromptons

I would like to thank Cromptons Cards, located on the open market in Preston, for their helpful and happy service in all weathers, and wish them a happy and healthy retirement for the future.

We will miss them.

A happy customer

Attack on values of civilisation

It’s distressing to learn Lancashire County Council has been forced to agree the closure of dozens of local libraries as a result of Central Government-imposed funding cuts (LEP, September 9).

The written word is the defining element of the higher achievements of human civilisation and, even in this electronic age, books are a cultural necessity.

Whilst it would be wrong to compare these forced closures directly to, say, the Nazi book burnings of the 1930s, it is the case that they undermine an important democratic institution – the public library. This institution has played a vital role in enabling those on lower incomes to access information, entertainment and, above all, knowledge.

This, taken together with Theresa May’s plans to increase the number of grammar schools, with all which that implies in terms of educational ‘selectivity’, undoubtedly constitutes a fundamental attack on the rights and (very few) privileges of working class people and on the values of civilisation itself.

Phil Howard, Penwortham

Don’t use Brexit as an excuse

I am sure many people were concerned by the recent BBC Panorama broadcast which revealed safety concerns at the Sellafield Nuclear Waste Plant in Cumbria, which stores most of the UK’s nuclear waste. Any accidental release could have catastrophic consequences across the North West and far wider. Thankfully, while we are still in the EU, we can rely on stronger standards on issues such as nuclear safety that are vital for protecting health.

Molly Scott-Cato, Green MEP, has written to the EU Commission asking it to investigate whether the Sellafield nuclear site is in breach of an EU directive which sets out basic principles for managing spent fuel and radioactive waste, and to initiate infringement proceedings if there is evidence of a clear breach.

Meanwhile the Greens will be campaigning to ensure the Government does not use Brexit as an excuse to avoid its international responsibilities in a range of areas, including taxation and environmental protection. Readers may be interested to know the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons UK is hosting a public meeting at 7.30pm on September 22, at the Friends Meeting House, Lancaster.

County Coun Gina Dowding, Lancaster