Libraries – Just look at this innovative project in Wigan

Ever since Sefton Council ran into its library funding problem and then seemed to lack the will and imagination to reinvent community libraries around the power of volunteers I have been looking at other places where volunteer library projects were given an opportunity to flourish.

Sefton’s Labour Council simply turned its nose up at volunteer bids to run Aintree and College Road Libraries if you recall (see many previous postings on this blog site). Instead of encouraging them they were made to jump through so many hoops only then to be told they had failed the test and to sling their hooks.

Aintree Library - Now up for sale by the same Council that shut it!

Aintree Library – Now up for sale by the same Council that shut it!

Well, as I have said before such negative thinking is not replicated elsewhere. Indeed, in Wigan a Labour run Council there has worked with volunteers and just look at this result:-



If it can work in Wigan why were Labour so determined that volunteer library ventures would not be given a chance to succeed in Sefton?

Weird FoI requests cost councils

A list of odd Freedom of Information requests sent to local councils has been published by the Local Government Association, drawing attention to the cost such trivial requests can add up to for authorities. One request asked councillors in Wigan what they were doing to secure the area was safe from attack from dragons, while another questioned how many exorcisms had been funded. Another request asked West Sussex Council if there were plans to cope with an asteroid crash. The LGA estimates that such hoax FOI requests cost in excess of £100,000 to answer.

The Times & Daily Mirror carried this story as did the BBC web site – see link below:-

You have to laugh at this

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story.

What future West Lancashire?

As local government changes and merges together for good and for bad reasons our most significant local council neighbour to Sefton, with which we share a massive boundary, is in danger of becoming the area that has no partners and potentially an isolated future.

Sounds harsh I know but I have already posted on this site about my great concerns regarding the ‘merger’ of all 5 of the Merseyside local authorities plus Halton (Widnes and Runcorn) into what one could call a new Merseyside County Council. This has been all but a done deal (and a bad done deal for Sefton at that) with only Sefton’s Labour run Council yet to sign up until tonight when, with Tory support, Labour did so.

That deal is bad geographically because it does not include West Lancashire and places like Ellesmere Port and Neston and maybe even West Cheshire which are all in the travel to work area of Liverpool. Merseyside as it will be constructed is too small to be an effective sub-regional or city region area.

But take another angle on this because Preston City Council and South Ribble Council and Lancashire County Council have also signed up to a partnership deal.

What’s more the hugely effective grouping of Councils surrounding Manchester (including Wigan) has probably got the best partnership deal of all.

None of these deals includes West Lancashire which is now all but surrounded by groupings of councils that are closely working together. This has to put West Lancs at a disadvantage.

What future West Lancashire Borough Council………………………..