SAVE OUR LIBRARIES – What on earth is going on at Birkdale Library?

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My colleague Cllr. Mike Booth has this story on his blog site at

http://kewfocus.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/birkdale-library-development.html

Frankly, it is all rather odd. Why has Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) come up with their ‘idea’ of moving into the Library seemingly after Labour run Sefton Council closes it. Talk about stamping up and down on the grave before the patient is even dead! I thought CVS was supposed to support the voluntary sector not to look for opportunities to do the Labour Council’s bidding by providing it with a tenant (CVS) should Labour go ahead and close this excellent community facility.

Please read what Mike has to say and then have a look at the document below that was put together by a group of non-political people working towards a common goal of saving the Library.

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BLAG. Birkdale Library Action Group.

In response to consultation by Sefton Council regarding proposed closure of Birkdale Library.

INTRODUCTION

Following a proposal by Sefton Council to close down 7 Libraries in Sefton, BLAG set up an action group to investigate ways that a library service could continue to operate in Birkdale. Various BLAG sub groups have carried out research on library issues, which was co-ordinated into an overall plan by a central steering group. A petition was signed by just under 2,000 people demanding that Birkdale Library should be saved.

AIMS.

• To maintain a valuable Public Library/Reference/Information Service.
• To create a more cost effective & manageable service.
• To maintain an accessible library service for all.

BASIS OF BLAGS CASE.

It is essential that the library service in the Southport area should be accessible to all people and for this reason thought must be given to disabled and elderly people who can only access a library by car.
Birkdale is the only library in Southport with a dedicated car park containing reserved spaces for the disabled. ( The councils chosen library option for Southport – The Atkinson – will have the worst possible access for anybody arriving by car.)
It is felt that if Birkdale library were to close, that this user group could be victims of discrimination.

Another group that would be greatly affected by closure are pupils of the 8 local schools who would not be able use a library without travelling by public transport out of the area. By removing the “convenience factor” of not being able to use the library on the way home from school, it is thought that most of these children would be lost to the library system at the expense of their educational needs.

BLAG have investigated how Birkdale Library could remain open at a reduced cost to the council. This report contains details of how a saving of 48% can be made to the current revenue budget reducing the net annual cost to £43,460.

This report also contains details of how Birkdale Library could provide an improved service in meeting local community needs whilst generating increased income which would contribute towards library running costs.
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The submission above is much more detailed but I have not produced the whole of the excellent document here. However, my point is why have Sefton CVS not been working alongside the volunteers who made the Birkdale Library submission. To throw in their own curved ball after the volunteers have spent hours working on their plan is frankly a disgraceful way to treat volunteers.

SAVE OUR GREEN BELT – Labour hype about Green Belt/Green Spaces – what brass neck!

I mentioned not so long ago a Labour publication that is doing the rounds in the Sefton Central constituency called Sefton Voice and the frankly ludicrous article about the closure of Sefton Council’s libraries which is being pursued by the Labour run Council.

But there was another but this time more subtle attempt to spin a bit recent history. In an article about the Green Belt we see a picture of three Labour councillors who represent Maghull walking across a green space. The impression that Labour wants us to pick up from this is that they are fighting for Green Belt and green spaces. The other picture shows Sefton Central’s Labour MP and his 3 Formby Labour councillors. Again a pro-Green Belt impression is being pushed yet the independent Green Belt campaign group in Formby seems highly unimpressed with what all 6 of Formby’s Borough Councillors (there are two Tories and one Independent in addition to the 3 Labour councillors) are doing to protect their Green Belt.

If we cast our minds back to two quite recent events, one in Lydiate and one in Maghull the actions of Labour, as opposed to their spin, has not been as ‘green’ as that Party seems to think we are.

This snow covered field is where Labour councillors voted to allow a canal marina to be built off Bells Lane, Lydiate

This snow covered field is where Labour councillors voted to allow a canal marina to be built off Bells Lane, Lydiate

In Lydiate, Labour councillors on Sefton Council’s Planning Committee voted to build a canal marina on Green Belt land. The only reason it did not happen is because at that time Labour did not control the Council and opposition parties voted together to stop it. It then went to a Planning Appeal where the developer tried to overturn the Council decision. No Labour councillors turned up at the two day hearing and it was left to residents and Lib Dem councillors to fight the developer. The battle was won but under Labour the planning permission would seemingly have been given.

In Maghull, Labour brought residents together to fight a development on a significant piece of urban green space in the heart of the community, off Damfield Lane. Labour brazenly marched them up to the top of the hill and then abandoned them by voting for the planning application!

The more they spin the more they expose their ‘say one thing do another’ approach. Oh and by the way, in case you may be thinking that I would be saying this because I am in opposition to Labour, consider this. A lady, who said she was a Labour Party member, got up to denounce the actions of Labour at a Planning Committee meeting that dealt with the Damfield Lane project; I know because I was there!

Gun crime in Sefton – Let’s move to bring it under control

I have lived in the Maghull and Lydiate communities since I was 10 years of age so I know how crime free our area has always been. Yet in the past year we have had 3 shootings, one at the Recycling Centre, one outside Maricourt High School and one in Rufford Avenue. This is unprecedented in Maghull history as far as I know and deeply worrying for the folks who live here.

I have also worked in Bootle since I was 17 and the worrying trend towards gun crime there, which seems to be associated with gang culture, has to be a big concern for both Bootle residents and the many public sector workers who are employed in its mini-Whitehall quarter.

My objective is to ensure that Merseyside’s new Police and Crime Commissioner knows how concerned Sefton residents are to rid our streets of guns. I am looking for a clear strategy to achieve that and am pleased that Sefton Council Leader Peter Dowd has agreed to pursue the matter following my raising it at Sefton’s full Council meeting last Thursday.

It is vital that we try to rid guns from our communities before we end up with someone wanting to set up a branch of the National Rifle Association locally. It is essential that this battle with guns is given the very highest priority in Merseyside.