Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Nottingham

Campaigners demand final decision on fate of Nottingham libraries

Campaigners are again demanding a final decision on the fate of three under-threat libraries six weeks after it was agreed they would be saved during a private Labour Group meeting.

The Labour-run authority had proposed to close the Radford-Lenton Library, Aspley Library and Basford Library as part of budget proposals and save £79,000 per year.

However, a campaign from Save Nottingham Libraries followed and the ruling Labour Group decided to save all three during a private meeting on November 7.

Labour members had been voting on the axing of Basford Library, but it was saved by 21 votes to 19, and Labour councillors must now abide by the decision or risk losing their whip.

A final decision was to be made during a public Executive Board meeting on November 22, but this was pushed back to December 20.

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However, the item has again been omitted from the meeting agenda.

Campaigner Des Conway, of Sherwood, said: “Why the delay?

“The Labour Group made a decision. Why can’t the council leadership clarify the position?”

Campaigners from Save Nottingham Libraries say they are now planning to attend the next meeting of the city council Executive Board on Tuesday, December 20, to demand a clear answer on the fate of the libraries.

It is the second time the Labour Group said it would be discussing the fate of the libraries at its Executive Board meeting, only for the agenda item to be missing on the date.

Chris Cann, another member of the campaign, added: “Our communities need an honest answer from the council: are these libraries safe from closure or are they not?”

A fresh round of council savings was revealed last week, including the axing of 110 full-time equivalent job roles and changes to adult social care services.

The 2023 to 2024 budget will be discussed at the meeting of executive councillors on December 20.

Of the missing libraries item, a city council spokesman said: “We had planned to take a report on the Libraries Transformation proposals to November’s Executive Board for a final decision.

“This is an important decision which needs to take into account of all the feedback we received during the consultation that we undertook earlier this year. It is essential that a final report is as comprehensive as possible to allow good decision-making to take place.

“We are still working on preparing the full range of options for the Executive Board to consider. We will confirm when the item will be scheduled in due course.”

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