Liberal Democrat Councillors have been slammed for their ‘reckless and irresponsible’ stance on plans to integrate Bath’s Central Library and One Stop Shop services.
During B&NES Full Council meeting last Thursday 14thSeptember, Lib Dem Councillors came under fire for tabling a proposal that could have cost the Council £800,000 a year and put library services at greater risk in future.
Councillors were debating proposals to co-locate Bath’s Library and One Stop Shop services in either Lewis House on Manvers Street or the Podium above Waitrose, a move which would save the Council up to £400,000 a year towards overall savings of £800,000 from the Council’s Modern Libraries programme.
Following the meeting Conservative Leader Councillor Tim Warren said:
“I have the greatest respect for the passion shown by those campaigning in support of our local library services. Libraries are one of the most important and valued services the Council provides, which is why we are seeking to both protect them and ensure they are sustainable for the future.
“All local councils are facing a significant financial challenge, and so we need to find innovative ways to deliver savings whilst at the same time protecting the local services we all value. By bringing together our library and One Stop Shop services in one location we can protect and even enhance this service, whilst delivering the savings needed.
“It’s therefore wholly irresponsible for the Liberal Democrats to put forward a proposal that would cost the Council £800,000 a year without suggesting any way in which this could be funded.
“On the one hand Lib Dem Councillors said they are not opposed to the principle of co-locating services, yet on the other they wanted to blow an £800,000 hole in the Council’s finances. This approach is both reckless and irresponsible, and by putting off the decisions needed to put our library service onto a sustainable long-term footing, it would simply put them at greater risk in future. It’s therefore disappointing that the Lib Dems have chosen to play politics rather than engaging in genuine and constructive solutions to these challenges.
“The consultation on the location for an integrated library and One Stop Shop closes this week, and the Cabinet will consider carefully the views expressed during this consultation before reaching a decision this autumn.”