Jeremy Hilton asks nine questions on Tory County Library plan

January 17, 2012 6:43 PM

Jeremy Hilton

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Gloucestershire County Council, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton, has asked nine written questions of council leader Cllr. Mark Hawthorne about the new strategy for libraries, being proposed by the Tory administration. The previous plan approved in February 2011 met with massive public opposition that finally led to the High Court ruling that the library strategy was illegal.

Following the High Court judgement the county council has to start the process over again. On Friday the cabinet will meet to decide whether to approve the new library plan and put it out for consultation.

Jeremy Hilton said: "This time I hope the Tories will listen to the public and in particular to the users of our county libraries. Last time they just railroaded through their plan of cuts to the library service, despite opposition from library users and Liberal Democrat councillors. I hope I will get proper answers to my questions on the draft library strategy. There may be a need for budget cuts, but there is no need to repeat the wanton vandalism that the Tories attempted with their first plan. I hope Cllr Hawthorne has learnt his lesson and that this time he will listen to advice from the people of Gloucestershire."

Councillor Hilton's questions

Q1 - To avoid confusion and as this report is in Cllr. Hawthorne's name, can the leader please confirm that he is leading on the 2012 draft library strategy and not Cllr Noble?

Q2 - Will the network of free internet accessible computers be part of the provision of the council's library network of main, local, partnership and community libraries?

Q3 - What will be the minimum number of opening hours per week offered in the council's local libraries?

Q4 - Will the cabinet provide members of council with a projected cost per visit for each library under the new provision?

Q5 - Bishop's Cleeve Library is the third most popular library in Gloucestershire, why isn't it going to be classed as a main library and open six days a week?

Q6 - Under the new library strategy will you be also publishing a capital investment programme?

Q7 - How much money does the council plan to spend on the stock fund over the next three financial years?

Q8 - Why is the consultation scheduled to last just six weeks? Should it not be 12 weeks?

Jeremy Hilton in Bishop's Cleeve Library

Jeremy Hilton in Bishop's Cleeve Library

Q9 - Has the council received the bill (and for how much) for the public interest lawyer costs in pursuing the successful claim brought against this council for the botched library strategy approved by cabinet on 2nd February 2011?