LAMBETH IGNORE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE: Carnegie and Minet to become gyms -“Stupidest plan in whole of UK” say campaigners
Lambeth council are going ahead with their hugely controversial plans to turn the Carnegie and Minet libraries into glorified gyms.
Tate South Lambeth and Durning libraries will both remain open until Lambeth “can identify a permanent site in the north of the borough” – but it may mean reduced opening hours.
Lambeth have ignored the alternative proposals put forward by the council’s head of libraries Susanna Barnes claiming that:
There was not a business plan in place that could deliver the significant savings required by 1 April 2016.
The proposal did not address in detail questions about the transfer of legal responsibilities, staff terms and conditions or how they could generate more income.
It was not a viable plan that could deliver the savings required within the next 12-18 months.
Lambeth’s decision comes as hundreds are expected to demonstrate at Lambeth’s plans in brixton tomorrow (Saturday) – with campaigners asking people to wear gym kits.
Friends of Lambeth Libraries say:
“The council simply repeats that it is forced to make the cuts. “BUT IT ISN’T TRUE. “SAVING LIBRARIES WOULD COST FAR LESS.
“For almost a year, the council has sat on a plan by the head of libraries that would make all the savings required – and keep all 10 much-needed libraries running.
“Intense campaigning – and the threat of court action – forced Lambeth to admit the plan existed, and promise to look at it.
“LAMBETH WILL WASTE MILLIONS. “But all the signs are that Lambeth is persisting with its own plan.
– saves LESS money than the librarian’s plan
– blows a cool £3 million on converting three libraries into fee-charging gyms – all in areas where its own plans say no gyms are needed.
– commits another £1 million to prop up the running of the gyms.
– sees half its libraries close, to be replaced by tiny, unstaffed, “neighbourhood libraries” – and it refuses to give any details of what these useless fragments will actually offer, or what it will do to to help the thousands of residents who need a proper library – but will be told to pay to use gym equipment instead.
Laura Swaffield, who chairsFriends of Lambeth Libraries also chairs the national charity The Library Campaign, which supports those who support libraries.
“I get reports from all over the UK” she says. “I see many examples of unworkable plans, or pig-headed councils.
“But Lambeth are unique. “It is the ONLY council in the entire UK that is paying FAR MORE to destroy its libraries than it would spend on saving them. “I have never seen anything as stupid as this.
“The council are smashing up an essential front-line service and making itself hugely unpopular – and paying through the nose to do so.”