Alderley Edge Library under threat of closure

library

The future of Alderley Edge Library is under threat as Cheshire East Council is considering closing the three smallest libraries in the borough in order to save money over the next three years.

The Council has published it Pre Budget Consultation for 2018-21 which includes closing Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury libraries in order to save £150,000 a year.

The consultation document states "The Council has a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all in the area that want to make use of it, but the Council is able to determine where libraries are provided giving consideration to equalities and best value duties. The Council would welcome proposals from local community organisations to deliver these libraries as community managed libraries as an alternative to closure."

Councillor Craig Browne said "Public libraries began to appear in Britain in the aftermath of the Public Libraries Act (1850). I find it a sad indictment on modern Britain that, as a country, we no longer appear able to afford to fund public services that we could afford to fund over 150 years ago. I think the proposal also reflects poorly upon the current political leadership at Cheshire East Council, particularly in the light of their recent decision to gift £2.4m of taxpayers money to ANSA, a council-owned company."

He added "I firmly believe that libraries continue to be an important cultural and educational resource, whilst helping to address issues of social isolation within the communities they serve. Libraries are as relevant today as they always have been and an indication of this can be seen from the number of young children taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge each year.

The Pre-Budget Report presents a set of proposals to fill a budget gap in excess of £70m, which includes reductions in government grant of nearly £20m, inflation of over £10m and increased demand for services estimated to increase costs by almost £40m.

The proposals in the consultation document assume that Council Tax will increase by up to 4.99% in 2018/19 and a further 1.99% in each of 2019/20 and 2020/21. The potential additional income from this would be £40.7m, leaving around £30m of savings to be achieved from changes and efficiencies within services.

The Pre Budget Consultation 2018- 21 document can be viewed here.

The document contains a number of questions, providing people with an opportunity to give feedback on the various proposals. An on-line survey can be completed here.

Comments on this document are welcome until 12th January 2018.

You can send any comments, queries or other responses, such as alternative areas for savings, by email - all responses will be captured and reported to Cabinet Members and Council. When submitting a response or comment, please include your name, organisation (if applicable) and contact details.

Tags:
Alderley Edge Library, Cheshire East Council
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Duncan Herald
Saturday 11th November 2017 at 9:36 am
Enough ?
Mark Russell
Monday 13th November 2017 at 7:41 am
While it is a sad day for the village and the team who work there, people need to have a think about what we pay for / can afford to pay for. Quite clearly the younger generation will use google for absolutely everything, and kindles et al to read, so attendances at libraries will be well down on even 10 years ago.

The job center in Wilmslow has shut, again rightly so because the way to find work is now via the internet.

The council should sell the property so it can be used for housing or a business, and re invest in something we need, like decent roads.
Jon Williams
Monday 13th November 2017 at 8:35 am
You were lucky if you found work at the Job Center Mark, it was just a place you HAD to go to for signing on every two weeks or having a Back to Work interview and to be insulted by some of the staff.
Duncan Herald
Monday 13th November 2017 at 1:33 pm
Please complete the on-line survey (see above).
If I can manage it, so can you!
Alan Brough
Monday 13th November 2017 at 3:46 pm
I've filled out the online survey.

It took a bit of time because you have to navigate around the consultation documents in order to find the part relating to Alderley Edge Library. The survey asks that you identify the specific proposal number.

In order to assist others, the part relating to the potential closure of AE Library is Proposal No. 79 and it can be found on page 89 of the consultation document.

I found the questions about sexuality, ethnicity and religion a little bit disconcerting but guess that's a sign of the times.
Joshua Pendragon
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 8:01 am
Let's start with the presumption that there should be public services. Let's also presume that services should exist despite, as the consultation exercise notes (no matter one might view such a policy): 'by 2020 the Council is expected to have no reliance at all on general funding from Central Government', Do remember that the library, in addition to, well, being a library and everything that means, is also the only public access to council services and the internet in the village. I suspect the toothless growls such as my own over the impact of the austerity model on often life changing public services for those who rely on them would be drowned out by a powerful full fanged roar of outrage at the suggestion of creating a new top band of council tax to maintain these services. Crazy old idea, I know, so I suppose we'd best turn off all the street lighting, cease gritting, and stop road repairs in addition to ceasing other public services. House on fire? Call for a free estimate. Sorry, reading this story and comment got the better of me for a moment, normal service resumed.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 11:44 am
Joshua,

I think that if we can learn anything from recent events at Cheshire East it is that Councils cannot be relied upon to provide best value for money.

The (simplistic) way that I see it is that we pay tax - either locally or to central government, and in return we expect services.

The rather worrying paradox is that our tax goes up whilst services are cut. Any commercial organisation operating in this way would crash

Before we entertain any further increase in tax, or any further cut in services we should hold the feet (of those who take it and spend it) much closer to the fire.
Joshua Pendragon
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 2:58 pm
I take your point, Alan, we're both in our own way underlining the relationship between taxation and public service provision. I also have some sympathy for local governments who have had greater responsibility devolved from Westminster with an inversely proportionate funding model with which to deliver them.
Jackie Pass
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 3:52 pm
Joshua - don't be fooled by the claims that they are losing large chunks of central government money. What councils have to do is submit their bids for specific projects, - Cheshire East does that and receives a considerable amount of money. Also the new housing developments bring in money. One proposed development in Wilmslow the developers have done their sums for them pointing out that Cheshire East will get circa. £1.1 million in "New Homes Bonus" and £267,000 in increased council tax - this is on a development of 170 homes. How many homes do they want to build in Handforth, Alderley and Wilmslow ? - we are talking very large sums of money coming to them. So they have money, but they are profligate with it , - purchasing land, giving huge pay-offs to staff, and setting up companies which fail.
Barry Buxton
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 4:02 pm
Mark Russell is right. This site is far too valuable to be in declining use as a publicly-funded facility. If still needed put it in less expensive location.
Joshua Pendragon
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 4:07 pm
Thank you for aiding my understanding, Jackie.
Bob Bracegirdle
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 4:37 pm
Eating away at the most basic of educational services. And face the fact it's not all on google. Terrible decisions.
Stephen Maynard
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 9:38 pm
On the one hand the Council receive payments from Central Government for new housebuilding which they conveniently forget to inform anyone about. They pay excessive salaries to stand-in employees which are way above some of the highest salaries paid in Central London to Directors of PLC's and despite us sorting all the rubbish for them which they then sell on for profit through recycling businesses, again we see no reduction in Council Tax (presumably this is paid into the Councils Final Salary Pension Fund) and now they say they have no money to keep the library open - when will we residents that fund the Council, see a Council that has members that are honest and who begin to contribute to the community in the ways we expect these officers to behave instead of wasting resources and spending them in a manner that continually shocks and concerns the community - when will the police make public the results of their investigation concerning the misleading traffic data that was used by Council members and employees to push through the additional new housing they tell us is so badly needed on greenbelt land?
Natalie Husdan
Friday 17th November 2017 at 11:50 am
Please fill in this survey arguing for the library not to close - thankyou Alan Brough for highlighting the specific part of the form as it isn’t easily navigable.

I have been going to the library regularly with my two young girls for over 3 years, the two weekly rhyme times are heaving with parents and their young children and there are constant events to do with reading, games, arts and crafts that are wonderful for children of all ages to attend.

When the weather is crap there is nothing else in the village to do if you want to get out and don’t want to sit in a cafe.

The library is homely, modern and the staff are wonderful. I know of parents who visit from villages around Alderley as it is such a particularly nice library.

When I’ve been in I have seen all sorts of people of all ages from the elderly to uniformed school kids yes taking out books but also asking to use the internet, studying, job hunting, reading the papers and borrowing dvds. It is short sighted to say Google and e-readers etc should see the death of books or libraries, or the money should be spent on roads instead, or the library - which sits under apartments - turned into housing or a business - bizarre.

Clearly the council’s money isn’t limitless but this is our village library, a comfortable warm hub where people can read, study, use the internet for free, print and fax things if they haven’t got their own devices, catch up with the free papers and local magazines there, just get out of their house and not have to pay for a coffee and it is the nicest library I have visited in East Cheshire and Stockport by a mile - I think it would be dreadful to see this public service go and know of many people especially parents who would like their kids to read actual books who think the same.

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