Don't miss a story sign up to Midweek Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Huge turnout at ‘save our library’ meeting

09:11 12 June 2014

Jo Hawkins (front left) used the county council

Jo Hawkins (front left) used the county council's own figures to show Axminster's under-threat library is actually the most cost efficient in Devon. Photo by Chris Carson

Archant

Axminster Guildhall is packed as the town demands a rethink over plans to downgrade the service

Angry residents packed Axminster Guildhall this week to protest at plans to downgrade the town’s library.

They blasted a message to Devon County Council that any money-saving scheme to run it with volunteers is totally unacceptable.

And they presented surprised officials with a cost breakdown - based on the authority’s own figures – to show that under-threat Axminster library actually offers better value for taxpayers’ money than any other in Devon.

The county council is currently consulting with the public over major changes to its libraries as part of its “tough choices” proposals to reduce spending.

In the local area, the suggestion is to retain Seaton’s “higher use” library as one of several “Devon Centres”, with salaried staff, while running Axminster’s with unpaid helpers.

In the firing line at Monday’s meeting were county council libraries’ spokesman Cllr Roger Croad and head of Devon libraries Ciara Eastell.

Cllr Croad told the gathering that they had to find £1.5million savings over the next three years.

The proposal was to operate 22 professionally-run ‘Devon hub’ libraries and 28 community led ones, using unpaid helpers.

Axminster county councillor Andrew Moulding said he appreciated the authority had to save a tremendous amount of money but their proposals did not accord with the status of his town. Axminster was set to grow by some 50 per cent over the next 12 to 15 years – unlike Seaton whose geography limited its expansion.

Jo Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Support Axminster Library group, was cheered when she used the county council’s own figures to show how Axminster Library was the most cost efficient in Devon – yet the most under resourced.

She said it cost 75p per issue against £1.68 in Seaton and £2.20 in Cullompton.

Axminster also had less spend per head of population than any other Devon library - just £2.19 against £8.76 at Seaton and £10.43 in Barnstable.

She said; “So if all the other libraries were as efficient as Axminster the county council would save £2.2million.”

Cllr Croad said: “I would not argue with your figures and I congratulate you on your research...I would like to take these figures away with me.”

And he urged all the town’s residents to fill in the county council questionnaire about the planned changes to the service.

“If you don’t like the questions cross them out and put you own proposals,” he said.

Cllr Croad added that Axminster library was one of the smallest in the county and finding larger premises might help upgrade it to a hub, which needed to accommodate other community services.

During the town council meeting which followed the public debate members backed Mayor Jeremy Walden’s call to officially oppose any place to replace the professional staff at the library with volunteers and to point out the county council proposals were based on ‘cursory and inaccurate’ figures.

In addition members agreed to explore ways of raising capital to provide an even more comprehensive library service for residents.

1 comment

  • Just goes to show how out of touch cllr Croad is with this. He should have sounded out the feelings of those that voted him into office, long before it got to this stage. He needs to be replaced and the sooner the better.

    Report this comment

    Shoreline

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other News Stories

Charles Broom pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, but denied murder, during a short hearing at Exeter Crown Court.

Read more

Firefighters used hydraulic rescue equipment and small tools to release the casualty.

Read more
10:24
The Renault Clio stuck in a ditch at Axminster Showground

Occupants escape uninjured after vehicle comes to grief at car boot sale

Read more
09:54
Siblings Seth 13, Isaac twelve and five year old Elijah Stanbury from Membury on their family's Massey Ferguson at the Colyton Tractor run. Ref mha 22-16SH 7254. Picture: Simon Horn.

More than 120 agricultural vehicles take part in the annual event

Read more
11:43
Competitors are in training up for The great Chardstock Duck Race

Enter a competitor in the annual race for just £1

Read more
Yesterday, 11:08
Lyme Regis lifeboat

Crew returned to base after the woman is found safe and well on Monmouth Beach

Read more
Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gittisham Folk Dance Club’s next session in Honiton will be held at the start of next month.

Read more
Sunday, May 29, 2016

Honiton mobility charity TRIP is hoping to take delivery of its first of two £50,000 minibuses by the end of the month.

Read more
Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bouquets were presented to retiring members of Colyton WI committee at the organisation’s recent annual general meeting.

Read more
Sunday, May 29, 2016
BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016. Listen back via the Radio 1 website and watch highlights on Radio 1’s YouTube channel, BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016 will be live on Radio 1 on 28th & 29th May. Watch live online, on BBC iPlayer, with highlights on BBC Four and Radio 1’s YouTube channel.

Huge crowds descended on Powderham Castle to see the launch of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend yesterday (Saturday).

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications