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MP in fight to save library from the axe

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

MP John Hayes is fighting on to save Market Deeping Library from the county council axe.

The library is one of 32 that will either close or be shoved into private hands as the council slashes £2million from its budgets.

Around 180 posts will be lost, including some that are vacant, and more than 100 staff will go.

The council will keep 15 libraries, including Spalding, but many will have cuts in opening hours.

The South Holland and The Deepings MP is seeking talks with Coun Nick Worth, the county’s executive member for libraries, and council leader Martin Hill to press them to keep Deepings Library open.

The MP said: “I will in essence say that we are not closed-minded about a solution for Deepings Library – the only thing I have got a closed mind about is its closure. It must be saved.”

He says the library plays a pivotal role in community life and it’s not feasible for residents to travel by public transport to Stamford Library.

Mr Hayes wants “some continuing, professional county council staffing” to remain at the library, but says that could be bolstered by volunteers.

He said: “We are not saying the status quo is the only answer. We are simply saying at the moment we have not got this right and we need to get it right.”

Labour county councillor Phil Dilks said if the library closes, the 18,000-strong population will be left with a mobile library visiting for just two hours a month.

He said the Save Deepings Library Campaign is inviting people to a meeting in January to decide the best way forward.

“That doesn’t commit us into putting in a bid, but that’s one of the considerations we will look at,” said Coun Dilks.

He will also ask South Kesteven District Council to consider running Deepings Library as it runs the library in Bourne.

Independent councillor Judy Stevens has invited residents to join Friends of Deepings Library group to see if there would be enough interest from volunteers to run a sustainable service.

Coun Nick Worth says the move would solve the problem in The Deepings because the county council can’t afford to staff Deepings Library and he’s unwilling to budge from that as Mr Hayes suggests.

Coun Worth said: “What I would say to him (Mr Hayes) is clearly he doesn’t understand the amount of funding cuts we are having to make because of the reduction in funding from central Government, of which he is a part, and we have to make some difficult decisions.”

He said it costs £55,000 to run Deepings Library, but about £40,000 of that goes on staffing – charities and CICs also get a reduction in rates that councils cannot claim – and overall it could be “very affordable” if volunteers step in.

 

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