Thursday 12 November 2015

Shh! Library for Sale

Earlier this month the Council's Executive Board turned off the webcam, threw out the press and public and went into private session. What was the top secret issue at stake? National security? No, it was the future of Llandeilo's small purpose built library, a public asset. There was no discussion at all (there never is) whether the public interest test to exempt the report was met, or not.

Back in March a 'consultation' was launched to gather views on whether it would be a good idea, or not, to sell the library and move its contents into the council offices a few hundred yards away to be run on a self-service basis.

The press office, when announcing the consultation, jumped the gun and described it as a 'development opportunity'. This was soon changed and this clear reference that the decision had already been made was removed.

The consultation came and went. We don't know if anyone responded, or what the responses were. Perhaps all were in favour, or all against, we'll never know.

All went quiet until this 'exempt' report appeared at the Exec Board meeting. The decision, recorded briefly in the minutes, was for the library to be relocated to the council offices (sweetened with the latest buzzword, a 'hub') and the existing library building disposed of.
Hardly surprising as this was the intention long before it got anywhere near a public consultation.

To be honest, given the council's three year budget plan, the library's days are numbered anyway, whether in its own little building, or in a spare corner of the council offices with an automatic till.

The question remains though, given the WLGA recommendation that the council review its questionable use of 'exemptions', was there any reason whatsoever for this quiet disposal of a community asset to be decided behind closed doors?

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