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Surrey’s libraries: Is there another U-turn coming?

October 11, 2011 4:37 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

In a debate on the future of Surrey's libraries at County Hall this afternoon not a single Conservative councillor voted for the council to abandon its plans for Community Libraries and adopt a library policy that retains professional staff in all libraries.

However, following the humiliating U-turn by the Conservative administration this morning on on-street parking charges, there were hints that another U-turn may be in the pipeline.

Cllr John Orrick, the Liberal Democrat Communities Spokesperson on Surrey County Council, says: "Liberal Democrats have consistently argued for many years that all of Surrey's libraries should remain open. We have argued against two tiers of library, with no second class libraries, and we want professionals at the heart of Surrey's library network.

"Hundreds of hours have been wasted by councillors and council officers on this unpopular policy, at massive expense to Surrey Council Tax payers. This time and money would have been better spent on more productive and urgent issues.

"However, there were suggestions from some Conservative councillors that when the issue is debated again next Tuesday afternoon by the Communities Select Committee, following a call-in by Liberal Democrat and Residents Association councillors, that they will be open to look again at the issue. Hopefully this will mean that plans for up to19 libraries to be only run by volunteers will be shelved and an alternative proposal that still saves money, but removes the threat of closure from libraries will be found.

"There has been massive pressure by library users across the County against the plans, and it is beginning to look like the Conservaive group are being dragged into listening to public opinion."