Open letter to the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture regarding Heathfield Library

An open letter to Cllr. Gareth Evans regarding our concerns for Heathfield Library.

Cllr. Gareth Evans 
Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
York House

Re: Heathfield Library

Dear Cllr. Evans,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 24th March 2014 regarding my pre-submitted question for the Whitton and Heathfield Question Time event on 13th March 2014 at Twickenham Academy.

I am grateful for your response to my question, in which I asked the Leader of the Council to explain why his administration had taken the decision not to build a replacement library in Heathfield and use the proceeds from the sale of the former library in 2008 to invest in libraries outside the area.

I am writing to you because I believe that residents of Heathfield deserve a full, dedicated library service within the ward. The current arrangements, whereby service users are required to travel to Whitton Library or use the Access Point facility in Whitton Community Centre, is far from adequate or fair to local residents; given deficiencies in local transport infrastructure and the shortcomings of the Access Point.

I have concerns over the way in which the Conservative administration and the former Liberal Democrat administration managed the process that led to the permanent closure of the library in 2011. I have questions over the circumstances in which the planning application to build a temporary replacement was halted in November 2010, given that the consultation on the closure of the library and options for relocation took place in January/February 2011 after the withdrawal of the planning application.

I also have concerns over the way in which the consultation on options for relocation failed to include a proposal to relocate the service within the ward and how the proposal to move the library to Whitton was rejected by a majority of respondents. What was the point of consultation if local residents were to be ignored?

Given that the consultation webpage continues to state that “the Library Access Point will be a temporary facility until a more permanent location can be found”, would you meet with myself, my colleagues and local residents to discuss a resolution to this situation and help us secure the future of a dedicated library service for Heathfield?

I look forward to hearing from you,

Craig Owen

Labour Party candidate for Heathfield

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