Published: January 11, 2011
Town Council considers £15,000 plan to save Highbridge library

Town councillors have this week considered a proposal to spend £15,000 on securing the future of Highbridge Library.

Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton proposed at a town council meeting on Monday (January 10th) that the money is used to keep the closure-threatened service operational with the help of volunteers.

"The library is an important service for Highbridge and the town council should consider allocating this money, providing there is support from the community to run it," he said.

However, the proposal was not supported from fellow councillors despite widespread concern about the future of the Market Street building.

Cllr Neville Jones said: "What would we get for our £15,000 - would the library be cleaned, lit, heated and insured or would we just get a book service and have to find more funding to keep it operational?"

Cllr Ken Smout added: "Sentiments can often get in the way of common sense. There is no empty cheque book to be waved here."

Cllr Dennis Davey asked: "How viable is it? Why would we take on a building if few people go there?"

But Cllr Janet Keen said she is keen for a pilot study to be undertaken on whether the library's visitor numbers are being hit by its low opening hours.

"It's use it or lose it time. We need a pilot study to find out whether the restricted opening hours are reducing the footfall and affecting its viability," she said.

A petition is currently underway to ask the county council to review its decision about the funding of libraries. You can also sign the petition online here. reported last month that the library is on a hit list of 20 across Somerset which the council wants to wind down as part of a £75million cost-cutting exercise.


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