The decision by the Conservative-backed Labour cabinet to close Stockport Central Library will be going through three of the council’s scrutiny committees this week ahead of a final decision on 7th December.
Speaking ahead of the first of these meetings, Cllr Lou Ankers, shadow cabinet member with responsibilities including libraries, said: “Labour simply aren’t listening. They reluctantly launched the recent consultation, called for by the Lib Dem motion in October 2019 because we could see a ‘stealth closure’ of the Central Library coming, and issued press release after press release trying to convince people to support this closure of library services.
“The outcome of the consultation was overwhelming opposition to the closure of Stockport’s iconic Carnegie-endowment Central Library, and yet they are choosing to ignore this and are determined to press on. Residents will rightly ask what the point of the consultation was and why they should trust the current Labour cabinet with the future of our town.”
Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems at Stockport Town Hall and scrutiny vice-chair, added: “Had local Conservatives not backed this minority Labour Cabinet in May we would not be facing this closure. Lib Dems would be doing the right thing, which is listening to the public and keeping the Central Library open as a library. We would invest the money needed to return it to being a good, accessible main library for the town.
“This whole situation is simply a lack of imagination and vision – having a substantial library presence at Stockroom using the Future High Streets funding does not require the closure of the Central Library at all and we call on Labour to think again.”
Discussion of Labour’s plans will go to the Corporate Resource Management and Governance Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday evening, the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday and the Economy and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee on Thursday.
All of these meetings will be accessible to the public through the council’s webcasting service, which can be found here: https://stockport.public-i.tv/core/portal/home