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

Thursday, March 26, 2015
The President of Devon Petanque Region, John Thatcher, and Honiton mayor, Peter Halse, cut the ribbon to Honiton's new Petanque Club and court. Ref mhh 1161-12-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The petanque terrain at the Mountbatten Sports and Social Club was opened on Thursday, March 19.

Read more
Thursday, March 26, 2015
rugby generic picture

As the Lacemen’s Colts licked their wounds from their recent defeat by a strong Barum outfit, they travelled to Okehampton for a must-win game and produced the goods in a 25-15 result, writes Paz Parratt

Read more
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Rugby

Honiton second XV were confident and commanding across the pitch as they won a derby meeting with Sidmouth 41-10, writes Tom Churchward.

Read more
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Britain's 10 Most Wanted.

National Crime Agency and Crimestoppers launch appeal to capture 10 wanted men believed to be hiding in Spain.

Read more
Monday, March 16, 2015
Convivium

For many music lovers, a performance of Handel’s Messiah is as much a part of Easter as chocolate eggs, fluffy chicks and nodding daffodils.

Read more
Monday, March 16, 2015
Sidford Badminton Club

Sidford Social Hall plays host to a badminton club that is seeing numbers drop and is now in need of some fresh new faces.

Read more
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Exmouth tennis starlet Josie Culliford

Exmouth tennis starlet Josie Culliford enjoyed success at a recent competition in Cheddar, writes Stephen Birley.

Read more
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Football generic picture

With both Millwey Rise teams struggling to fulfil their numbers through injury and late withdrawals the ensuing results were better than what perhaps was expected, writes Dick Sturch.

Read more
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Super-fit Charlotte Venn - fundraising skydiver and marathon runner

Charlotte, who ran the Barcelona marathon in 2004, is hoping to raise £1,000 in sponsorship by taking part.

Read more
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Jack Britten, Devon Roe-Lavery, coach Helen Reddy, Catie Lee and Valentine Tutcher.

The acrobatic gymnastics season is well and truly under way for Honiton Gymnastics Club men’s pair Devon Roe-Lavery and Jack Britten.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition today E-edition



Honiton's trusted business finder