The above tweet has been circulating about Cllr Jane Edbrooke. There is no suggestion that either Cllr Edbrooke or GLL have acted illegally in any way whatsoever over Lambeth Labour councillors hugely controversial plans for the borough’s libraries. – Editor NFCP
FEARS OF COUNCIL “SMOKESCREEN” OVER LIBRARIES
Library campaigners fear Lambeth council are putting up a “smokescreen” over their plans to keep just five of the borough’s libraries as town centre libraries – with three others being turned into glorified gyms.
They say that at a council meeting on January 27th Cllr Jane Edbrooke – cabinet member for neighbourhoods whose brief includes libraries – said an independent expert would now evaluate the feasibility of the staff / community mutual fund proposal for libraries.
But Cllr Edbrooke gave no indication as to how long this evaluation would take, they say.
In two separate posts on their website Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library say: “The suspicion of all the library friends groups campaigning to keep a ten-library service is that the consideration will be so long-drawn out that the council will claim that it is too late to implement the proposal in the next financial year.
“The proposal must be operational by April.”
The Friends criticism comes as libraries across Lambeth – including Upper Norwood – are reportedly set to stage a one-day strike on Monday in protest against the Labour proposals.
“The record is not encouraging” say FTSL (Friends of Tate South Lambeth).
“The mutual fund proposal was first presented in April 2015, in summary form, in the consultation on Lambeth’s cultural services policy.
“There was no response from council officers, until October 2015 when they unveiled their own proposals (which removed funding from half of Lambeth’s libraries) and rejected the mutual fund proposal.
“In late November 2015 and responding to political pressure and public outrage, council officers commissioned Susannah Barnes to work up the proposal.
“The proposal was delivered at the beginning of January 2016. “Four weeks later no assessment has been forthcoming.
“One disturbing feature is that the council side seems to want the proposal to be developed for implementation some years down the line – and for five town centre libraries only, as by then all the other libraries will have ceased to exist.”
The Friends have also criticised Cllr Edbrooke’s amendment to a motion at the January 27th supporting the mutual trust proposal from the head of Lambeth Libraries, presented by Cllr Scott Ainslie (Green Party):
“Edbrooke butchered the Ainslie motion, removing both the reference to the ‘town centre’ libraries already being full to capacity and having to turn away people, and the endorsement of the mutual fund proposal that would keep all ten libraries in operation, yet make the savings required by the council.”