Published: March 20, 2011
Fight to save Highbridge Library from closure goes to London

Highbridge district councillor Joe Leach has taken the fight to save Highbridge Library from closure to London.

Cllr Leach travelled to the Department for Communities and Local Government to hand deliver a letter to Secretary of State Eric Pickles.

He then met Burnham's MP, Tessa Munt, in Parliament to discuss questioning the Secretary of State in the House of Commons.

It follows a response to Cllr Leach's original letter in January this year, when Eric Pickles declined to answer questions regarding his statement to Parliament last December when he called on councils to share senior members of staff and back office functions before considering the closure of libraries.

Cllr Leach was unhappy that the Secretary of State simply handed the letter over to another department, which sent back a generic letter giving nothing more than details of cuts in the budget.

Cllr Leach told "It is unacceptable that Eric Pickles feels he can just deflect questions directly posed to him onto another department."

"I quoted him specifically and expected answers on matters that could see our libraries lost or saved. To show him just how serious I am about this matter, I have brought my letter to him directly, and to let him know I will not just let this go, but keep pestering him until he answers those questions."

In his letter, Cllr Leach claimed that councils have failed to share management functions and he highlighted excessive salaries and unneccesary duplication which he says have resulted in money being spent which could be used to keep Highbridge library open.

He points out that this goes against Government guidelines and he called on Mr Pickles to respond to the points made. He later met with Tessa Munt, where they discussed the potential to ask Mr Pickles a question in Parliament regarding the matter. "I look forward to his response, and hope for a positive outcome," added Joe.

Cllr Joe Leach is pictured outside Eland House, the HQ for the Department for Communities and Local Government, in London


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