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Green light for plan to take on town’s library

Holbeach county councillor Nick Worth outside the town's library in Church Street which is set to be run by University Academy Holbeach and the University of Lincoln.

Holbeach county councillor Nick Worth outside the town's library in Church Street which is set to be run by University Academy Holbeach and the University of Lincoln.

The future of Holbeach Library appears safe after plans by the town’s academy and university campus to run it won favour with county councillors.

Plans by University Academy Holbeach and the University of Lincoln to take over running the library in Church Street were first revealed by the Guardian in September after a public meeting organised by Holbeach Parish Council.

News that the plans had met Lincolnshire County Council’s criteria for library services was confirmed by Coun Nick Worth at a parish council meeting on Monday.

Coun Worth, county council cabinet member for libraries, said: “Holbeach was one of 40 different libraries in the county to have expressions of interest put in for it.

“University Academy Holbeach and the University of Lincoln scored 59 out of 60 in an assessment, so they will be taking on the running of Holbeach Library from May 6.

“They must now go through a business planning stage at the end of March so that they are ready to run the library.”

Holbeach is one of up to 40 libraries in Lincolnshire set to be run by community groups after county council cabinet members voted to approve changes that will save it about £2 million a year.

Controversial plans by the council to slash the number of libraries it runs from 47 to 15 sparked protests across the county which led to a number of concessions being made to ease the blow.

These include a £5,000 a year contribution towards running costs and ongoing advice for groups taking on libraries and a one-off grant of £15,000 towards set-up costs.

Chris Penney, chairman of governors at University Academy Holbeach, said: “Our mission statement with the University of Lincoln is to improve literacy in the Holbeach area, so we couldn’t see the town without a library.

“We now have to put a working party together to make it happen and we’re looking to do it with help from the community.”

You can find out more tonight when University Academy Holbeach hosts a community open evening at its campus on Park Road from 6.30pm until 8.30pm.

 

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