Library closures in Liverpool – Let’s hope those wanting to save them are given the chance to do so

Remember Sefton Council going through this process and how badly I said it treated volunteers wishing to take over College Road Library (Crosby) and Aintree Library?

/www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/proposals-rescue-liverpool-libraries-come-7906866

The Liverpool Echo has the story (see link above) of how folks are trying to save Liverpool’s threatened libraries.

Sadly this placard could also read 'NO' to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

Sadly this placard could also read ‘NO’ to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

I hope Liverpool’s elected Mayor Joe Anderson has more confidence in volunteers wanting to take over libraries than Sefton Labour did when they dismissed the volunteer bids in an appalling way.

Can volunteers save Whiston Library (Knowsley Borough) when in Sefton its Labour rullers told volunteers to sling their hook?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/community-group-campaigning-save-merseyside-7668726

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.

This sadly takes me back only a few months to the farcical situation that two volunteer groups faced in Sefton when they tried to take over Aintree and College Road (Crosby) Libraries. The bottom line was that Labour-run Sefton was simply not going to let them.

I really do hope that Labour-run Knowsley is prepared to give their volunteers the chance that Labour-run Sefton was not prepared to do. I would hate to think of more volunteers being given the run-around.

Volunteers running libraries – If they can do it in Lincolnshire why not in Sefton?

Lincolnshire County Council is pressing ahead with plans to put volunteers in charge of libraries. The council said community groups have come forward to take over 30 libraries.

This story came via the BBC.

I am in danger of another rant here because for the life of me I still can’t understand why Labour-run Sefton stopped volunteers from running two of the libraries that Labour decided to shut. It made no sense when they made the decision and frankly looks even more ludicrous with the benefit of having thought about it since.

People like Peter Gill and his fellow campaigners for Aintree Library and indeed their counterparts for College Road Library deserve medals for their efforts whilst stubborn municipal socialists should continue to hang their heads in shame!

Labour – There’s a lot to protest about in Sefton!

There have been a quite a number of public protests in recent years across the Borough of Sefton against things like:-

The Post Office closure programme pursued under the last Labour Government which saw Maghull and Lydiate having 4 Post Offices axed:- Below are Lib Dem protestors fighting for the former Coronation Road Post Road Post Office in Lydiate.

rsz_protesting_about_labours_post_office_closures_in_lydiate

Labour-run Sefton Council’s plan to close public toilets across the Borough. This fight was won by campaigners like those pictured below:-

rsz_toilet_campaign_02_13_lab

Labour’s £46 Green Bin tax for Sefton. This was fought off in the Summer of 2013 but the comrades are expected to try to bring it back once again having only deferred it:- Cllr. Bruce Hubbard is pictured below with his massive petition against the green bin tax which caused Labour to lose 2 council by-elections to the Lib Dems in Maghull.

rsz_bruce_green_bin_petition_pile

Building on Sefton’s Green Belt. Labour have got into big trouble over this by saying they would defend it whilst voting to build on it! Talk about being found out! Below are environment protestors lobbying a Sefton Council meeting at Maghull Town Hall. They were ignored!

rsz_green_belt_protestors_outside_maghull_th_06_06_13

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

A petition against building on Green Belt being presented to Cllr. Dave Russell Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council.

A petition against building on Green Belt being presented to Cllr. Dave Russell Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council.

Then there’s the hugely unpopular library closure programme pursued by Sefton Labour Party on the Council. 7 Libraries have been closed and Labour have even refused to let volunteer community groups run two of the closed libraries!

Sadly this placard could also read 'NO' to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

Sadly this placard could also read ‘NO’ to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

rsz_protesting_about_library_closures_-_southport

The photo above was taken outside Southport Town hall as protestors tried to save 3 libraries in the Town from closure. Sadly, like the Green Belt protestors, they were ignored.

Lib Dem campaigners fighting Labour's library axe

Lib Dem campaigners fighting Labour’s library axe

Yes, there is a lot to protest about in the Bootle-dominated, Labour-run socialist republic of Sefton.

We simply do not want volunteers to run Council services, what other conclusion can you come to?

I have posted quite a few times about the roller coaster of a ride that Aintree Village Parish Council has had with Sefton Borough as it has tried, unsuccessfully so far, to take over the running of Aintree’s local Library.

To recap the plan was to take over Aintree library, one of 7 that Labour-run Sefton Borough had decided to close, and run it with volunteers and Parish Council finance. All was going well and the bid was seemingly being welcomed but then the Borough (i.e. Labour) started to put all kinds of obstacles in the way.

Eventually Sefton decreed that Aintree Library could not be taken over by volunteers, funded by Aintree Village PC, because there was no guarantee in place for funds to be available for 5 years. No if’s, no but’s, put 5 years funding on the table or sling your hook was seemingly the Borough’s attitude.

Things went from bad to worse in the relationship between the Borough and Parish and the local Parish Charter, which had been ignored anyway, was ripped up in front of the Borough’s Cabinet by an Aintree Parish Councillor.

But underneath all this something very odd was going on as another library was down to be taken over by volunteers and they also got told to shut the door after they left. This one was not in a Parished part of the Borough (it was College Road Library in Crosby). The common denominator was volunteers and them being seen to be unreliable, so much so that they were not given a chance to have a go at running their respective libraries despite both groups having significant business and professional input from the two reasonably affluent communities.

A Sefton Full Council meeting debated volunteers taking over Council facilities, at my instigation, but it became quite clear to me that the Council’s ruling Labour Party held the view that they were not having any of their services, even ones they say they can no longer afford to run, being taken over by volunteers.

The matter concluded, for now at least, with a Sefton Scrutiny Committee going through the motions of examining the matter and then the majority Labour members of it voting to back the Cabinet decision without any really meaningful in depth and independent reviewing of the situation what so ever. Or put it another of the 70 odd questions submitted raising concerns about the process of reviewing the 2 volunteer bids, how many do think came from Labour Councillors? Less than say one………..

So in Sefton which, not so long ago, was developing a good relationship with its 10 Parish Councils and its diverse communities an about face has been done with Parishes and indeed volunteers being shown the door. So much for parish charters, localism and volunteering in the Borough.

This article was originally written for and published on a differing web site.