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

16 minutes ago
Officials at the Conservative Party coffee morning and sale

The branch chairman Simon Card said everything went really well.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
Teresa Sturrock receives her new scooter from Carol Gilson.

The Exeter resident had been trapped inside for three years after a flesh-eating bug destroyed her leg, and only went out when she could receive assistance.

Read more
Fri, 18:00
Nikky Williams who has become only the second woman to join the crew of Lyme Regis RNLI Lifeboat. Photo Richard Horobin

The 21-year-old sailing instructor is only the second woman to become a sea-going member of the life-saving team

Read more
Fri, 17:00
Honiton Charter Day. Town Crier, Dave Retter, shouts the market charter to deputy mayor Jackie Wadsworth and Elizabeth Thurgood of The Tudor Dance Group. Ref mhh 4970-31-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Visitors were treated to fun dancing sessions courtesy of LeRoc Modern Jive, The Tudor Dance Group and Westernspirit Line Dancing, while dog owners showed off their pets in a family dog show.

Read more
Fri, 11:01
Honiton Hot Pennies 2015. Ref mhh 5432-31-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Honiton town crier Dave Retter thinks this year’s event had the biggest crowd ever.

Read more
Fri, 07:32
Axminster police station

Several vehicles have been attacked in the Woodbury Park area

Read more
Thu, 11:00
Honiton Hospital. Picture by Terry Ife. Ref mhh 0072-03-07TI

The decision was taken at a meeting of the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) governing body earlier this month.

Read more
Thu, 06:59
Isobel Simpson, winner of the ice-cream competition with her 'Orange Secret' with Val Voysey of Furzeleigh Down dairy . Ref mha 1087-29-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Axminster Primary School pupils challenged to create new flavour

Read more
Wed, 17:15
Mimi Cook joined several other heart and lung transplant patients for the fundraising mountain mission.

She described the challenge as the ‘hardest, scariest, most challenging, rewarding, eye opening, proudest thing’ she has ever done.

Read more
Wed, 11:10
The damage caused by vandals.

An appeal has been made by police, who are urging any witnesses to the incident, or anyone with information, to come forward.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

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

Digital Edition

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


Honiton's trusted business finder