Holbeach Library plans come under ‘travesty’ attack

An artist's impression of the new-look Co-op in Holbeach ANL-161208-160638001
An artist's impression of the new-look Co-op in Holbeach ANL-161208-160638001
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Plans to move and remodel Holbeach Library as a community hub have been branded a “travesty” by a parish councillor.

Lincolnshire Co-op plans to invest more than £750,000 in creating a food store, pharmacy, post office and book lending centre after moving Holbeach Library from Church Street to Fleet Street, Holbeach.

The new hub will have up to 4,000 books to lend at any one time, seven computers, a children’s reading area and telephone advice line within its library. But at a parish council meeting on Monday, Coun Val Gemmell said: “Holbeach Library is being remodelled on the same basis as two other Co-op branches and volunteer-run libraries in Lincolnshire, one at Waddington and one at Spilsby.

“But I’m very concerned over the safeguarding policy and it not having any tables and chairs for children.

“Also, there will be seven computers at the new library but they haven’t considered that children will be using them, next to adults.

“The lack of provision for youngsters means this won’t be a community library but a travesty of one.”

I’m very concerned over the safeguarding policy and the lack of provision for youngsters means this won’t be a community library but a travesty of one.”

Coun Val Gemmell, Holbeach Parish Council

A Lincolnshire Co-op spokesman said: “We believe community libraries are an important service and that is why we came forward to help run facilities in Spilsby, Waddington and Holbeach.

“Having libraries within our outlets helps subsidise the service and secure it for the future.

“Facilities at the new library will be similar to those provided in other libraries which have been transferred over to the community, with provision for a children’s reading area and disabled toilet.

“We will also be following guidance from Lincolnshire County Council and Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) on safeguarding as volunteers receive training on those issues.

“Finally, we appreciate the support volunteers give these libraries and look forward to welcoming them into the new facility in Holbeach.”

Meanwhile, a joint statement from the county council and Greenwich Leisure Limited, which now runs the county’s largest libraries, said: “Under the new model for Lincolnshire, the council has given funding to community hubs so they have the freedom to adapt their design and what they offer to meet the needs of their own local communities.

“In Holbeach, Lincolnshire Co-Op and volunteers are looking at possible interior design for the new building, with support from the council and GLL.

“The library will include public computers, a children’s library area and a disabled toilet facility.

“They are looking at how to make the best use of the space to accommodate both children and adults.

“Anyone working in an environment where there are children is required to undertake regular safeguarding training.

“We will support Lincolnshire Co-op and volunteers to achieve this.”

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