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Ipswich: Borough council demands that town libraries are saved

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 February 2011

Liz Harsant

Liz Harsant

Archant

IPSWICH: Borough chiefs have written to their county council counterparts in a last-ditch bid to stop libraries closing in the town.

The move was revealed by Ipswich Borough Council boss Liz Harsant during a stormy meeting at Endeavour House in Ipswich last night.

It comes after Suffolk County Council last week voted through sweeping cuts to library and lollipop services as the authority aims to save £42.5 million over the next year.

Cllr Harsant also announced that discussions were under way with a company prepared to sponsor a number of school crossing patrols in the town.

The Tory leader said: “Nobody on this side wants to see the libraries close down or school crossing patrols stopped – but these are not the responsibility of this council!

“However, I have asked our chief executive to write to the chief executive of Suffolk County Council (Andrea Hill) to tell her that Ipswich Borough Council wants to see libraries remain wherever possible.

“We have expressed an interest in working with Suffolk County Council in order to achieve this. We do take it seriously and we intend to have meetings before we start throwing money at it.”

She added: “We all would like to see lollipop services retained as well. We all want to ensure that children get to school safely.

“We have been working with a potential sponsor and meetings have been going very well. The sponsor is prepared to pay for some of the lollipop service to be retained.

“We hope to have a result very soon, but can’t divulge who the sponsor is at this stage.”

Councillors clashed over proposals to spend £240,000 on locality budgets for councillors.

Under the plans, borough councillors are given around £5,000 each, which they can decide to spent on community projects.

Labour councillors proposed an amendment to the plans – asking that the budgets be scrapped and the money instead used on saving school crossing patrols and retaining library services.

David Ellesmere, leader of the Labour group, said: “Most people are more concerned about the loss of libraries and lollipop service than making a small saving on their council tax.

“We propose to spend the £240,000 on saving these facilities and put the remainder into the council’s reserves.”

However, the amendment was quashed after concerns were raised about the amount of money needed to fund the services.

Andrew Cann, Lib Dem councillor, said the funds wouldn’t be enough to fully run libraries in the town and urged councillors to instead spend their locality budgets on saving school crossing patrols.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

1 comment

  • To close Broomhill library at a time when the pool might reopen and bring more people into the area shows the kind of foresight councils are famous for. There are plenty of other areas savings could be made in order not to make libraries an issue.

    Report this comment

    Sarky Sage

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

A knife was recovered by firefighters from a river near Ipswich train station as part of a police investigation this evening.

A cow which escaped from a field forced police to close the A14 for more than an hour in Suffolk tonight.

A grieving Ipswich father whose 26-year-old son died in a car crash is demanding a change in the law over the “ridiculous” rules regarding compensation for bereavement paid by insurance companies.

Our iwitness members have been sending us their photos they’ve been taking this weekend.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service have tackled fires across the county today.

Just under 200 women took part in the second-annual, multi-terrain charity fun run.

How long could you go without using your oven? In my case it was exactly four weeks and, in reality, I could have lasted longer. I only started using it again because I could.

Families have been taking advantage of the fine spring weather to get out and about and celebrate Mothering Sunday in the sunshine.

Police have cordoned off an area in Newmarket after they received a report of rape in the town in the early hours of this morning.

A military site just outside Ipswich has always had an air of mystery about it, writes John Norman, of The Ipswich Society.

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