Published: August 26, 2011
Volunteers show support for closure-threatened Highbridge library

A new group of volunteers that has been formed to help run Highbridge Library when the County Council closes it down later this year met for the first time at a public meeting on Thursday evening (August 25th).

The group, pictured, gathered at the Town Council chambers where they discussed the way forward for the library with local councillors.

The volunteers were told that Somerset County Council may not fully withdraw funding and shut Highbridge Library on 1st October as expected due to an ongoing judicial review into library closures across the country.

"That review will take place in late September and the final decision on Highbridge will not be known until later in the year, possibly December, which gives us some time to put our plans in place," Cllr Helen Groves told the meeting.

Proposals to form a new charitable trust were discussed, along with plans to conduct a survey of residents to learn more about what they think about the library.

The meeting was attended by nine volunteers and was chaired by town councillor Cllr Helen Groves, alongside county councillor John Woodman, town councillor Alan Miller and town councillor Martin Cox.

"Many residents feel that Highbridge has been badly treated on this and they feel strongly that the library should not close," Cllr Groves told the meeting.

But Cllr John Woodman responded: "Sadly, there just isn't money at the County Council to run this library in the same way as in the past."

However, he confirmed that £5,000 has been set aside by the County Council to help fund any community group that is set up to run the library. Further funding is also expected to be made available by the Town Council.

The volunteers aired concerns about the possible closure, saying they would do all they can to keep it running.

Afterwards, Cllr Cox told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Green shoots will grow from this meeting and there is a reason for optimism moving forward."

Cllr Groves added: "It's really positive that a group of volunteers has come forward showing such enthusiasm and commitment and a willingness to give their time."

A further public meeting is to be held over the next few weeks. The date and time will appear here on Burnham-On-Sea.com.

 


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