April 4, 2011
Future of closure-threatened Highbridge Library is secured
future of Highbridge's closure-threatened library was dramatically
secured on Monday (April 4th) after a deal to keep it open was
struck with Somerset County Council.
Peter Burridge-Clayton, John Woodman, Chris Williams and Janet
Keen announced the surprise news during Monday's town council
the terms of the deal, which has been negotiated by Highbridge
councillor John Woodman, the county council will employ a single
member of staff at the library and pick up payroll costs.
county council will provide a one-off £5,000 'priming grant'
to set-up the community-run library, which will be operated by
a team of volunteers.
county council will also pick up the annual costs of the connection
to SomerNET, a library management system; provide £578 towards
the running costs of the system, and a further £337 will
be given towards People's Network costs.
councillors were told at Monday's meeting that £4,000 of
funding would be required from the Town Council to enable the
'rescue' to go ahead, which they unanimously agreed.
Peter Burridge-Clayton said opening hours are yet to be determined,
as are the terms of the lease, and that insurance costs would
also need to be examined by the group of volunteers.
this autumn, the library will therefore be run by a group of almost
30 volunteers who came forward earlier this year to offer their
help in running the library following a successful appeal by town
councillor Chris Williams.
Cllr Williams told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "This is wonderful
news. I honestly thought the library was on very thin ice, but
this is fantastic news and I am very grateful for John and Peter's
help in securing its future."
Janet Keen added: "This is the best news of the year so far.
I just hope that all those people who expressed their concern
about Highbridge Library being considered for closure will come
forward and use it. The volunteers will need their support."
Cllr John Woodman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "We wanted to
find a realistic option to save Highbridge Library and, with the
£5,000 of funding I have secured, we have a viable way to
save it. I am 100 per cent sure that it has now been saved."
Michael Clarke also welcomed the news, saying: "It's great
news and a fantastic reward for all those who have put in so much
effort to safeguard it."
And Cllr Neville Jones added: "It's a wonderful result.
Thanks go to all those members who have secured this admirable
and equitable solution. This is really good news for the 'doers',
who don't just stand back but put their ideas into action."
closure of Highbridge Library was being considered by the County
Council as part of its wide-reaching financial cutbacks across
the region. It was placed on a hit list of 20 which the County
Council wanted to wind down as part of a £75million cost-cutting
Further volunteers to help run the library are being sought.
Those who can offer help should contact the Town Clerks
office on 01278 788088.