Uckfield public library

County library closure plans opposed by Uckfield Town Council

Library closures in many towns and villages across East Sussex are being opposed by Uckfield Town Council.

Members feel it right to support other communities, even though the town’s library is not threatened by the current round of cutbacks.

Hours were cut at the branch in a previous round of savings.

Consultation

This time complete closures are proposed in communities including Ringmer, Polegate and Mayfield

A consultation is under way and you can take part. Here is a link to an online consultation document and questionnaire.

Cllr Diane Ward, Trust Independent, Uckfield Central, said at the town council she was “shocked and stunned” that people were saying the majority of people would have to drive a maximum of ten to 15 minutes to reach the nearest library.

Country buses

“Do they not realise that not everybody drives? she asked.

She said rural areas were affected and pointed out the poor state of country bus services.

She said all age ranges used the library.

“You have youngsters listening to stories, people learning how to use a computer, people doing their homework.

Online

“They are talking about people being able to get things online.

“There are a lot of people of all different ages who would not know how to do anything with a computer.”

Cllr Duncan Bennett, Deputy Town Mayor, Trust Independent, New Town, said the cuts would affect people who were the least able to travel.

“I think we should advise the county that this is a cut too far,” he said.

“There has got to be a better way than just getting rid of something.

“We know what happens, once you lose it, it will never come back.

Under threat’

Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood, pointed out how the affect of cuts compounded over a number of years.

“I think we should say we support our colleague parishes who are under threat,” he said.

Councillors also pointed out that a library was not just a lending service but was a place where people could access many other services.

They agreed  that the county council’s proposals were a step too far, and suggested a workable alternative be found which would look to the voluntary sector and the support they might be able to provide to keep these smaller libraries open.

Mobile library

Members noted the proposed loss of mobile library services which had typically supported communities within the more remote and rural areas, as well as opening hours which had already been cut across all libraries in the county.

It was also noted that if a number of libraries were closed next year, where would these proposals end?  Would this become a pattern year on year to make further savings? This would entail deeper cuts.

Members resolved to show their support for other parishes, saying libraries were recognised as valuable services and it was important that these should be retained at all cost.

They said East Sussex County Council needed to be cautious before making any decisions.

See also:

Warning off dangers to children’s eyes

County councillors think ‘rate’ rise inappropriate

Uckfield Lions classic car run helps charity

Uckfield writer Michael J Ritchie signs contract for second novel

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