Lib Dem Councillors have today tabled formal challenges to two decisions taken by the Conservative Cabinet last week to downgrade library services across Bath and North East Somerset.
The Conservative plans would see the Bath One Stop Shop merged into Bath Central Library at the Podium, whilst Parish Councils, Town Councils and community groups would be expected to take charge of library provision in rural and suburban areas (e.g. Moorland Road, Weston, Paulton, Radstock, Saltford and areas currently served by the mobile library).
Councillor Richard Samuel (Walcot), who is the Lib Dem spokesperson on Community Services, commented:
“This Conservative administration is completely failing residents on libraries. Together, these two policies represent an enormous change to services for people in almost every part of Bath and North East Somerset.
“Many Bath people don’t want the One Stop Shop to be merged into Bath Central Library as it will disadvantage people who use both services, yet the Conservatives refuse to listen and did not include a co-location question in the recent, limited consultation.
“Many rural and suburban communities don’t have the capacity to run library services after branches and the mobile library are cut, yet the Conservatives have not even held an open, public consultation on these plans.
“These plans were signed off despite the lack of clarity around the costs and possible savings, the absence of information about ownership of branch libraries and the need for an assessment of the impact on services, amongst many other issues.”
Councillor Dine Romero (Southdown), Leader of the Lib Dem Group, added:
“Yet again the Conservative administration is proving they are not interested in residents’ views and are trying to push through two ill-thought through schemes with little evidence or consultation.
“This will be an opportunity for residents and Councillors to look in-depth at the Cabinet’s decision making and challenge them on the details of their plans.”
Your local Liberal Democrats rely on the help of supporters to deliver for residents in Bath and North East Somerset. Select one of the tiles below to find out how you could help