January 25, 2011
last-minute reprieve for closure-threatened Highbridge Library
and councillors in Highbridge have reacted with dismay to this
week's announcement by Somerset County Council that there will
be no last-minute reprieve for the town's library.
chances of the closure-threatened library in Market Street being
saved have dimmed after the council announced plans to retain
nine threatened libraries, but Highbridge was not among them.
Burnham-On-Sea.com 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. It is seeking community volunteers to run
Following a consultation exercise, the County Council has this
week unveiled a new proposal where nine libraries - Cheddar, Glastonbury,
Martock, Somerton, Ilminster, Shepton Mallet, Dulverton, Castle
Cary and Wiveliscombe - could be retained.
six libraries could still be shut in the current year - Highbridge,
Porlock, Watchet, Sunningdale, Bishops Lydeard and Bruton.
Council leader Ken Maddock said: "We have listened to what
people said and put our residents' views at the heart of our decision
making. We carried out a hugely effective public consultation
and the overwhelming message was that people understood the savings
needed but wanted us to spread the cuts more evenly - that's what
we're looking to do."
The County Council has previously said that Highbridge Library
is among the worst performing libraries in Somerset by visitor
numbers, making it difficult to sustain. A final decision on its
future will be taken in February 2011.