The Chair of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, Lib Dem Councillor Anthony Negus, has welcomed the u-turn by Mayor Ferguson today on library closures.
Cllr Anthony Negus (Lib Dem, Cotham) said:
“I welcome the news that there will be an equitable solution to keep open libraries throughout the city.
“At the scrutiny meeting, though, we continued to raise concerns about lack of information so the Mayor agreed to delay his final decision until September.
“Many communities have been left concerned about these proposals and the lack of information means there still is great concern about what reduction in library opening hours will occur across the city’s libraries.”
Local library campaigner and leader of the Save Clifton Library campaign, Tom Stubbs, added:
“I am delighted that the campaign to save Clifton and Redland libraries, led by local residents and Lib Dem councillors and campaigners, have made the Mayor listen. No final decision though has yet been made so we will be keeping up the pressure until we are certain of its future.”
The Mayor announced that the 7 proposed closures will probably now not go ahead but opening hours would be reduced, with a minimum of 20 hours per week opening. Savings of around £600,000 a year are still planned but this is around half of what was previously opposed. Community libraries will be looking at cuts of up to a quarter of their opening hours which Lib Dem Councillors have said is far too much and are urging the Mayor to find imaginative solutions instead of cutting opening times.
“Where Conservative and Labour councillors were willing to support cuts of over £1m to our library service we were always clear that this was far too much and it now seems the Mayor agrees with us” says Cllr Anthony Negus.