your say on Highbridge Library closure plan as consultation starts
and Burnham-On-Sea residents are being urged to have their say from
today (Monday) on controversial proposals to cut library services
across Somerset - which include the possible closure of Highbridge
first reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com, Somerset
County Council says Highbridge Library could close under its
cost-cutting proposals unless local volunteers are found to keep
considered by county councillors says the cutbacks are expected
to deliver between £300,000 and £520,000 of annual savings
council says that Highbridge Library has a catchment population
of 6,786 people, but it has just 288 active borrowers, and an annual
footfall of 3,786 people.
Highbridge town councillor Cllr John Parkes, right, told
Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I am very concerned about the future for
Highbridge Library and would encourage local people to have their
number of users has decreased because Highbridge
Library's opening hours have been cut back to just nine and
a half hours a week. It's no longer open outside normal working
hours, or when children want to use it after school, so of course
the usage figures are low."
also told by several users that the computers often don't work,
so the library is not a reliable place to go for online job hunting.
People don't return there if the computers are not working."
added: "Given that Highbridge's only secondary school, King
Alfred School, is improving after a poor OFSTED you would hope that
it's more important than ever for Somerset County Council to help
improve young people's literacy by providing a library here."
while Somerset County Council's hopes of finding volunteers are
admirable, that only works as a long-term plan if they are able
to find enough of them and have the capacity to train them in the
County Councils Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic
Development, Cllr David Hall, right, says: "These are
challenging financial times and we must put libraries on a sustainable
financial footing for the long-term, whilst still delivering a modern
thriving library service across our County."
services will continue across Somerset whatever the response from
this consultation, but our proposals highlight that keeping some
libraries open may require community support. Where we are unable
to keep libraries open, we will deliver library services in other
ways such as via alternative venues or mobile library services."
would stress that no decision about the future delivery of library
services in any community has been taken and no decision will be
made until the results of this consultation have been fully analysed.
Please take the opportunity to submit your views on the proposals
and offer your ideas or suggestions for any alternative proposals
you may have."
the council report, the council adds that Burnham-On-Sea Library,
right, has a catchment population of 37,078 people with 3,270
active borrowers, and an annual footfall of 67,745 people.
council concludes: "Existing library services will continue
to be provided at Burnham-On-Sea Library."
will continue to explore the potential to share space with other
organisations and/or partners, in order to save money."
Highbridge Library, the council proposes to "provide library
services through either a partnership with the local community to
maintain a library building in Highbridge; or by delivering outreach
library services such as events, activities, small book collections
and/or public computer terminals via alternative venues."
County Council's consultation on the future of how its library services
can be delivered runs from 29th January for 12 weeks and can be
accessed at: www.somerset.gov.uk/librariesconsultation.
drop-in session will also be held at Highbridge Library on Thursday
15th February from 10am - 1pm when users can find out more about
of the public, businesses and organisations are being invited to
have their say. There are Somerset library service proposals for
nine areas in total available to view. Anyone taking part in the
consultation will be asked to view the area of the library they
visit most often before completing a questionnaire asking for their
views on the proposals.