Croydon council told to preserve Upper Norwood Library

Croydon council told to preserve Upper Norwood Library

Croydon council told to preserve Upper Norwood Library

First published in News Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant Editor

A clear message to support an under threat library service has been sent to Croydon Council.

A survey on funding the Upper Norwood Library found 89 per cent of those questioned would experience a significant negative impact if Croydon Council withdrew its funding.

Only one per cent of the 2,071 respondents to the survey said there would be no impact on their lives.

Some 5,500 survey forms were distributed, and nearly 1,500 of these were returned, along with over 600 online responses and nearly 50 emails and letters. Nearly 250 people also turned up to a heated public meeting on May 16 to put across their views.

Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “I hope we have made it quite clear throughout this process that we had no pre-conceived solution in mind.

"Once it became clear that an alternative was needed to the old joint agreement we took this as an opportunity to fully review library provision in the area, and we are now very close to reaching a conclusion.

“I am certain that we have now gathered sufficient information, and that we now have a clear enough understanding of local need and opinion to allow us to make a decision that will make sense in the current financial climate and that will ensure we are meeting any obligations to local people.”

For 112 years the Upper Norwood library has been run through a joint agreement between Croydon and Lambeth local authorities to jointly fund the service.

This agreement broke down last year after a dispute between rival councillors.

Lambeth representatives argued Croydon had broken the agreement by appointing non-local, Conservative representatives to the committee, and refused to attend annual general meetings in 2010 and 2011.

Croydon Council responded by stating the agreement had been made invalid through Lambeth’s actions.

Lambeth Council has agreed to continue funding the library, at a reduced rate, while Croydon, which provides £189,000 annually, will discuss the survey results at a cabinet meeting on September 17.

To view the results of the consultation in full visit www.croydon.gov.uk/UNJLconsult.

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