Thursday 13 June 2024
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Campaigners ‘frustrated’ as final decision on Nottingham library closures delayed

Campaigners say they are frustrated after Nottingham City Council revealed it would not be making a final decision on the fate of three libraries until a later date.

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

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

Labour Group members were voting on whether or not to save Basford Library, with councillors having opted to save the other two, and after a stalemate the vote came to 21-19 to keep it open.

This means Labour councillors must abide by the decision or risk losing their whip.

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It was understood a final decision was to be made during a public Executive Board meeting on November 22, however the council says this is no longer the case.

Des Conway, of the Save Nottingham Libraries campaign said: “We cannot get to the bottom of the reason why they are delaying it.

“It is frustrating. We were ecstatic when we first found out about it. We thought: ‘Victory’.

“I still think it is highly unlikely they will go back on that because there will be 21 disgruntled councillors if they do.

“I asked whether they would be tabling it for the December meeting but they could not confirm that either.

“It would have been nice to get this through before Christmas.”

Although the authority is Labour-dominated, the vote on November 7 was not an official council decision, but an indication of the ruling Labour group’s wishes.

Council officers would have reflected on the outcome of the Labour Group’s vote to determine the best route forward, with the savings proposed from the closure of the libraries now having to come from elsewhere.

The council is still being monitored by a Government-appointed improvement board, chaired by Sir Tony Redmond, which was put in place following the collapse of Robin Hood Energy.

Should it fail to demonstrate progress the Government may decide to send in commissioners to take control.

A Nottingham City Council spokesperson 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 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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