People in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge are being urged to have their say on the future of Somerset library services before the consultation finishes today (Wednesday, 13th June).
As 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.
Thousands have had their say, but with county council’s consultation due to end today, time is running out for those yet to take part going online here.
The ‘Save Highbridge Library’ says it is ‘hopeful’ about the outcome of the consultation, adding: “We are clear that we think that Highbridge Library should remain open, our preference would be that the county continues to run it with paid library staff. We feel strongly that Highbridge library needs longer opening hours.”
“Highbridge Library is an important part of the town centre, and should be a key part of the town’s future.”
Burnham and Highbridge Town Council has issued an agreed statement on the future of the library: “The Town Council recognises that the usage of Highbridge Library needs to improve if it is to be successful. Accordingly it expresses its willingness to work with local Parish Councils, the Library Service and other relevant bodies as part of an integrated response to enhance the offer to residents. As part of this, it will consider financial assistance.”
Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has completed the survey so far. Your voice really does count and once the consultation ends on Wednesday, the results will be analysed and final decisions will be made later this year.”
“I urge everyone who is yet to have their say to complete the survey online or call into your local library. This really is your last chance to tell us your thoughts on our proposals.”
The council’s proposals show that for 12 libraries, there will be no change. These include Burnham-On-Sea, Bridgwater, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Langport, Minehead, Taunton, Wells, Williton, Wincanton and Yeovil.
For 15 libraries, the council says that community support may be required to keep the buildings open: Highbridge, Bishops Lydeard, Bruton, Castle Cary, Milborne Port, Nether Stowey, North Petherton, Porlock, Priorswood (Taunton), Somerton, South Petherton, Street, Sunningdale (Yeovil), Watchet and Wiveliscombe.
The proposals also highlight that seven library buildings may remain unchanged or may require community support to remain open: Cheddar, Crewkerne, Dulverton, Ilminster, Martock, Shepton Mallet and Wellington.