MP KATE HOEY BLASTS ‘SHAM’ CONSULTATION OVER WATERLOO LIBRARY CLOSURE
“There is no logic to Lambeth council’s decision to close the current Waterloo library next March and move it to a site in the new Oasis building,” Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall, has told the SE1 website.
“Their decision not to sell the building at this stage means there is no reason why it cannot stay where it is and work be done for example on creating a housing scheme developed above it which would help fund the library staying.
“This so-called consultation has been – as many thought it would be – a sham, as overwhelmingly the Waterloo community said they wanted a Lambeth funded library to continue.
“Waterloo is a hugely important part of the borough but is undervalued by the council leadership despite the area providing Lambeth Council with the highest level of business rates in the borough.
“I will support the local councillors in opposing this ill-thought-through plan for Waterloo.
“Libraries should be one of the big priorities for a Labour council despite cuts and this is clearly not the case.”
Further reading: Waterloo SE1 website*
Elsewhere, librarian Tim O’Dell of Lambeth UNISON says: “There is no evidence that anyone wanted their local library turned into a gym.
‘Services used by children and elderly people will be swapped for weightlifting and cross-trainers. “Free services will be exchanged for a fee charging gym!
‘How many children will learn to read at the gym, how many older people will find a friendly face?”
Jeff Doorn, chairman of the Friends of Carnegie library – one of three libraries under threat of being turned into a healthy living centre – said: “This will destroy our library, which is a flourishing hub of the local community. “It promotes the health and wellbeing of people of all ages and fitness levels, not just the minority who will use a gym.”
Edith Holtham, who chairs Friends of Tate South Lambeth library – which, like the Minet at Brixton faces the same threat as Carnegie – says: ‘We are appalled at this proposal, which eviscerates Lambeth’s library service.
‘It is particularly depressing that Lambeth rejected a proposal from library managers for a charitable trust to run all the existing libraries – as libraries – on a reduced budget that would meet Lambeth’s spending targets.
“This is a model that has worked in other local authorities. “So why not Lambeth?.”
(*Editor’s note: News From Crystal Palace have confirmed with Kate Hoey that she made the comments quoted on the Waterloo SE1 website.)