‘Let’s Extend Library Consultation’

February 19, 2012 6:28 PM

Liberal Democrats will prompt debate at Shire Hall next week in an attempt to extend the consultation period on the draft library plan from six to twelve weeks.

The High Court decision back in November left the Tory administration having to undertake a major review of its library proposals. These are now out to public consultation, but only for a six week period until 11th March 2012.

As part of the consultation residents are being asked what should be done with mobile libraries and what level of support is needed for community-run libraries. Liberal Democrats across the county are concerned that the six week consultation period is not giving members of the public enough time to respond to the library strategy being proposed by the Tory administration.

County Councillor John Cordwell (LD: Wotton-Under-Edge) said: "The length of time for consultation is usually 12 weeks. There is no point undertaking a consultation process in half measures. Many of my constituents, like others across the county, work and will find it extremely difficult to attend one of the drop-in locations during the day. Also many people who use public transport will find it impossible to get to the nearest drop-in place. The drop-in locations need to be in more places and available at times when people who work can get to them."

Bishops Cleeve County Councillor Ceri Jones (LD) also said: "Many people may be dissuaded from taking part by the length and complexity of the questionnaire. By extending the consultation period people may feel more inclined to engage without feeling rushed. Hence the reason for our motion is to request that the consultation period is increased to take account of such issues."

Liberal Democrats are recommending that the closing date on the public consultation be changed to the 23rd April 2012.