We were forwarded the email below from a very frustrated user of Moreton in Marsh Library who has spent the months since the councils plans were announced trying to find out what they meant for her library. The library in Moreton-in-Marsh, despite it being the busiest in the Cotwolds and in a town that expects substantial population growth in the coming years, is destined to become a “Link” Library. The council says it needs partners to help pay for and run these libraries and share the premises. If these people can’t be found, the libraries will have to close. Even when run by the council and a partner organisation, they will have a severely reduced service with less books, less services, self-service machines and minimal staffing. The council has been having confidential talks with potential secret partners for many months. The partner for Moreton Library was said to be the police. Moreton residents were told that the library would remain in the current library building with a police “contact point”. However, it seems the parish council, who were bypassed in the councils decision making, have different ideas. This is just one example of the confusion that the county councils total lack of transparency is causing in our county. This rural area has also been told its mobile library service will cease completely in June of this year.
“[Here] is a link to an article in the local paper, it raises several questions which I fully expect you to say you cannot answer due to the legal challenge, and primarily because you have no answer.
- Do you have alternative partners in mind for Moreton Library if so who?
- What plans do you now have for the library re hours and bookstock etc?
- Why wasn’t the local council informed about the police being partners and given full information and consulted about the library plans so decisions like this would have been included in the consultation process?
- why was the consultation process not based on possible decisions like this?
- Why was there a vote on library closures before decisions like this could be made by local councils?
- Why was the consultation process on libraries finished before the police consultation on their plans had started as their decisions affect the libraries as the police are your much trumpeted partner?
I now expect there to be a new consultation on the plans for Moreton library.
It does prove that the whole consultation process was flawed with no information given to, or consultation with local councils, to give them time to put forward their own plans.
As leader of the council and the importance of how this affects the library and also how this shows the flaws in the consultation process I expect a full answer from Councillor Hawthorne”
The email was sent to the council leader Mark Hawthorne and portfolio holder Antonia Noble on the 18th March. We will be interested to see if the lady gets a response. As yet the Council Leader has never once responded to her emails and Councillor Noble claims she cannot due to a legal challenge being launched into the library plans (the email writer is not the claimant and the library plans are still limping along)
300 homes with planning permission are being built in Moreton with 300 more going to appeal for planning permission. It has been reported that £40.000 is being given to the library as part of the planning agreement
Open Visits Issues
(hours) % %
Bourton 13 20,793 19 19,176 16
Moreton 23 34,917 31 36,894 32
Ch. Campden 16 26,057 23 31,291 27
Stow 20.5 30,849 27 29,278 25
Total 112,616 116,639
Source : Gloucestershire Library Service 2009/10 statistics
This really is further evidence of Gloucestershire County Councils poor decision making and illogical plans. They are not considering local need that is for sure. More detail on why a “Link Library” model is unsuitable for Moreton is explained on Pg 30A of the Moreton Times, Jan/Feb 2011
The Council Leader Mark Hawthorne responded with this outrageous brush off. We still know nothing about the plans for Moreton Library. (they all seem to have an agreement to say “thank you for your email, the contents of which I have carefully noted” what is that all about!? it is farcical). Political ideology with little to do with what communities need or want!
Thank you for your e-mail, the contents of which I have carefully noted.
I’m sure you are aware of the enormous agenda that is now unfolding for the development of services in the public sector, with a full range of options in the course of development.
The Council will continue to do all that it can to embrace opportunities to enhance the delivery of services to its communities within the challenging context of financial restraints that require us to manage the public purse prudently.