Thursday 26 May 2022
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Nottingham

Councillor asks for no more Nottingham libraries to close when Central Library opens

Assurance is being sought that no further libraries will be closed down when Nottingham City Council finally opens its new Central Library.

Cllr Andrew Rule, opposition Conservative leader, called on the Labour leadership to make a commitment to libraries at full council on 9 May.

This comes following proposals to close three local libraries in the city so the council can save £233,000.

angel row library

The libraries which could be closed are Radford/Lenton Library, Basford Library and Aspley Library.

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A public consultation has now closed, with around 2,000 people signing a petition demanding that the council ditch the plans.

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Two Labour councillors, Cllr Anne Peach and Cllr Hassan Ahmed, who represent the Radford area, have also gone against their own party’s proposals. They are calling for the Radford/Lenton library to be saved.

They believe the much-loved library is in an area of deprivation and will will rip out “the heart and soul of the local community.”

library 3

A decision on which libraries will close will be made in autumn.

But Cllr Rule wanted to make sure no further libraries were in the firing line when the council opens its new Central Library.

Nottingham residents have been left without a main city library since March 2020 after the council decided to close the Angel Row facility during pandemic restrictions.

It decided not to re-open it, pending completion of the new multi-million-pound main city library in the Broad Marsh car park development.

The building itself has been completed but the council had to find around £10m of investment to fit it out.

The thousands of books and records from Angel Row are currently being stored at an industrial unit two miles from the city centre, which is not open to the general public. The Angel Row faciity is also being sold off.

Cllr Rule asked the leader of Nottingham City Council, Cllr David Mellen, on May 9: “Can the leader of the council provide an undertaking that when the fit out of the Central Library building is eventually completed, it will not be used as an excuse for further reducing neighbourhood libraries following the recent budget proposals to close three neighbourhood libraries in the city?”

Cllr Mellen responded: “The delivery of the Central Library in Nottingham is a priority for the council. I am pleased to announce I will be bringing a report to the executive board later this month to propose the starting of the fitting out work of the library building.

“I recognise the importance of needing to maintain the strong network of excellent neighbouring libraries alongside the replacement Central Library and we will be working to make sure this network remains.

“Cllr Rule you use the word excuse. I believe that is neither appropriate or fair. No councillor on this side of the chamber wants to close libraries.

“But to balance our budget is our legal duty.

“The cuts in public services by the systematic underfunding of local government by this Conservative central government. This is the reason why these decisions are having to be made.

“We are having to consult on closures because your government has not funded services in Nottingham properly.”

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