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Lib Dems condemn Tory decision to plough ahead with Library Closures

March 1, 2011 10:30 PM

The decision today by Surrey County Council's Cabinet to plough ahead with plans to end the mobile library service and close 11 branch libraries, unless local communities take up the running of them, has been condemned by the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrat Leader on Surrey County Council, Cllr Hazel Watson, said "Mobile libraries and smaller libraries are a key part of local communities. They are valued by many local residents, especially young families, the elderly and the disabled. We must not close the book on vital libraries."

"The Conservative Cabinet has failed to listen to the many residents who have raised their concerns. They have ignored the wishes and needs of local communities. Many of Surrey's towns and villages will not have a library within a reasonable distance, or accessible by public transport."

"Libraries need to be run by professionally trained librarians. It is too much to ask volunteers to take on the many roles that a professional librarian undertakes in the County's libraries."

"This was not transparent and open decision making. It flies in the face of democracy. Last week a democratic cross-party scrutiny committee said that the whole plan should be looked at again. This week the Cabinet has totally ignored the scrutiny committee and ploughed ahead regardless of the views of Surrey residents."

"The Conservatives running the Council cannot even make up their minds whether the plans are about saving money or about being part of the 'Big Society' - which is not surprising as very little money will be saved, and it is impossible to see how services will be improved."

"They are palming off their responsibilities onto local people, rather than providing the services they should be running."