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Councillor blasts ‘great Deeping library betrayal’

PROTESTORS GATHER: Labour county councillor Phil Dilks (back, left) and fellow opponents to library cuts on the steps of County Hall on Tuesday.

PROTESTORS GATHER: Labour county councillor Phil Dilks (back, left) and fellow opponents to library cuts on the steps of County Hall on Tuesday.

Protestors were on the steps of County Hall in Lincoln on Tuesday in a failed bid to persuade the county council executive to save Market Deeping Library.

The executive rubber stamped plans to shove 32 libraries into private hands – where volunteers are willing to run them – to save £2million.

Some 150 jobs will also be axed in the cost-cutting.

Deepings protestors say their library is busier than some of the 15 libraries 
the county council will continue to run and the council has refused to 
listen to 9,000-plus residents who oppose the cuts.

Deeping St James Labour county councillor Phil Dilks attacked the executive’s decision as “the great Deepings Library betrayal”.

He said: “The all-powerful eight Tories and one Lib-Dem refused to listen to more than 9,000 Deepings voices calling for a reprieve for Deepings Library.

“Instead, they rubber-stamped seriously flawed plans to close our library, 
sack the staff and provide a mobile library for just two hours a month – unless volunteers accept their £5,000 ‘bribe’ to run a service that cost £55,000 last year.

“It’s no surprise that our community has not been sucked in by the council’s relentless grooming exercise. Deepings people can see you might run a couple of book shelves for a few hours a week on the council’s offer, but it wouldn’t be a proper library.

“After failing to persuade the Deepings, it was sad to witness an angry council leader Coun Martin Hill pathetically hurling insults, bizarrely blaming Deepings residents for ‘failing’ to grab what was on offer rather than taking responsibility for his actions.

“Executive member Coun Peter Robinson, of Market Deeping, raised hopes saying it would be ‘ludicrous for the 18,000 residents served by Deepings Library to end up with a two-hour visit from a mobile once a month’.

“But despite his concerns, Coun Robinson then took the Tory whip, voting for the cuts, saying he hoped that ‘something better’ might happen.”

Coun Dilks has vowed to continue the fight.

He said: “I am not going to let the library die. We will do our best and fight on for The Deepings.

Coun Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: “So far we have had expressions of interest for 25 existing libraries, as well as seven communities wanting to create brand-new facilities. That means we’re likely to end up with even more static libraries than we started with.”

• People have until the end of January to express an interest in running libraries and information is available on www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/librariesconsultation

 

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