Last Thursday the Labour Council voted to close down Harrow Green Library. Residents had raised a petition of over 5,000 signatures and local Lib Dems had also raised a petition of over 1,1000 signatures to save the library.
Despite these petitions, fierce local residents’ opposition to the proposal and impassioned speeches, Labour Councillors voted to close the Library. The Tories abstained and the Liberal Democrats were the only party to vote against the closure. Even local Labour Councillors, whose residents had campaigned to stop the closure, voted to shut down Harrow Green Library.
Local Lib Dem Cann Hall Ward Councillor Liz Phillips, who has been leading the campaign in the council said:
“Local residents worked hard on this issue and took time out of their day to come and speak in the debate in good faith, only to find that the Labour Party had stitched up the result in advance.
“I’m not surprised that some residents walked out in disgust. Labour has refused to listen to local residents all along and this council meeting was no different.
“The Labour councillors can’t use a cut in the budget to hide the fact that it is them who are closing down our local library.”
The closure was based on the widely criticised libraries’ review and despite the consultation process, two petitions and recommendations from the council’s own scrutiny panel that no libraries needed to close, the Labour leadership refused to change course.
Lib Dem Leader Councillor Bob Sullivan said:
“The Libraries’ Review has been widely criticised and appears to have been a foregone conclusion from the start.
“The questions asked in the consultation were clearly misleading. For example, residents were asked if they would like their library to start opening on Sundays, but weren’t asked if they minded other libraries closing for this to be achieved.
“Of course residents suggest improved services, but if they knew that the council were robbing Harrow Green to pay for those services I believe they would think again.