Is there new hope for libraries in Sutton on Sea and Alford?

A new lease of hope is being pumped into saving libraries in Sutton on Sea and Alford.
A new lease of hope is being pumped into saving libraries in Sutton on Sea and Alford.

Communities in Sutton on Sea and Alford have embraced new hopes to keep their libraries running by creating new steering groups.

After the decision of the nine executive councillor’s at Lincolnshire County Council to withdraw professional staff from 30 libraries including Alford and Sutton on Sea, leaving those communities with the only option of funding and running them or having a woeful mobile service, the communities have responded to the challenge and they both have formed steering groups.

Both groups are now working tirelessly to get in an official expression of interest before the deadline of January 31.

It will be a massive challenge for these two groups to find the volunteers to run the libraries and trying to find funding pots and filling out all the necessary paperwork that is asked from them.

The council will offer £5,167 a year and a one off £15,000 for capital costs but the rest will have to be found by the communities.

These small libraries will now be known as Community Hubs but must continue to offer a library within them. The council will provide 4,000 books, but both libraries currently have an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 books in them.

County Coun Steve Palmer of Lincolnshire Independent, said, “I am still very bitter about the decision of the council to do what they have done.

“I believe the original reason given to save the council £1.93m a year has not been achieved and does not even save the revised £1.7m.Futhermore it brings forward delays in implementing the change over to volunteers.

“This means it won’t be until 2018 and they won’t break even thanks to the estimated £3.6m the whole process has cost with the consultation, redundancies and additional costs taken into account”.

“I am full of admiration for both volunteer groups who are going to take on the task and I will support their efforts. However it is a big task”.

Steve added, “I have deep sympathy for my former colleagues who have been put in a terrible situation not knowing what their fate is and having to compete for what jobs are left.”

The volunteer groups have to get the expressions of interest accepted, then have to submit an in-depth business plan by the end of March to continue their bids to keep the Libraries open.