Library closure proposals: County Council figures disputed
Burnham-On-Sea town councillor has this week disputed figures from
Somerset County Council used to show Highbridge Library should close
as part of a cost-cutting initiative.
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
it open. Consultation
on Somerset library closures is currently underway.
the county council's figures have been disputed. It says that Highbridge
Library has a catchment population of 6,786 people, with just 288
active borrowers, and an annual footfall of 3,786 people.
Phil Harvey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I have been looking at
the data for Highbridge Library. The catchment area map shows it
as: the Sedgemoor ward of Highbridge and Burnham Marine, The Burnham
Without Parish Ward of Highbridge, The parishes of West Huntspill,
East Huntspill and Pawlett."
figure given for the total population of the area is 6786. This
is manifestly wrong as the electorate of Highbridge and Burnham
Marine alone is 6267 - and some of these residents have children!"
the 2015 consultation when the Highbridge Library Hours were reduced
from 13 to 9.5, the population of the catchment area was given then
another point, the estimated housing growth for the catchment area
up to 2028 is given as 163. Sedgemoor officers have confirmed to
me that their estimate of the 'Greater Highbridge' area is 1291."
'Greater Highbridge' I mean the first two areas in my earlier population
list, plus the part of the Brue Farm development in West Huntspill
Parish. Given that there is likely to be some housing in the remainder
of West Huntspill - as well as East Huntspill and Pawlett - the
total new build will be higher. 163 is an underestimate of over
such discrepancies in the basic figures, it is hard to make meaningful
responses to the consultation. The figures need to be revisited
and any necessary amendments made to related data."
a Somerset County Council spokesperson responded to Burnham-On-Sea.com
last night: "All our consultation proposals are based on detailed
statistical evidence. How weve calculated the Somerset libraries
catchment population is explained within our further detailed
information section on the Somerset Libraries consultation
studied the detailed demographics and needs of individual libraries,
and this is all available to view within the Data analysis
methodology document online. Further statistical evidence,
which helped shape the proposals, is also available in the evidence
and data section. Wed like to encourage everyone to
respond to the consultation either online, in a library or at a
drop-in event and give us their views."
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