Ipswich: MP calls for Westbourne Library support

IPSWICH: More needs to be done to galvanise the community in the north west of the town before there is any threat to its only library – that was the message today from MP Dr Dan Poulter.

He was speaking after visiting Westbourne Library in Sherrington Road – one of the 29 “community libraries” that the county council has said might close if people don’t step in to help run them.

Last year Westbourne Library had 32,000 visits according to figures from the county council – but Dr Poulter was concerned that the lack of a strong community group in might make it difficult to find anyone to take it on.

He said: “In some other parts of my constituency, in towns like Framlingham, there is a strong town council and community organisations. That has not been established in this part of Ipswich.

“I would hope that the county council would give the area time to try to come up with a solution so this valuable resource is not lost.”

Dr Poulter remains concerned that the county is cutting front line services too deeply. He said: “I appreciate there have to be spending cuts, but when the number of people employed by the county increased by 100 last year, you have to wonder whether it might not be better cutting deeper into the bureaucracy.”

County councillor with responsibility for libraries, Judy Terry, said councillors should provide community leadership to come up with a proposal to run the library.

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There is Heritage Lottery Funding to set up a community group in that part of Ipswich.

She hoped this would enable a bid to be made to the county.

She said: “There are two years to get a proposal in place, but we would urge anyone interested to talk to us during the consultation period which runs until the end of April.”

Mrs Terry thought a solution might be to open a new library in different premises in the north west of Ipswich, nearer the large estates of Whitton and Whitehouse.

n Do you use Westbourne Library? How important is the library to you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk

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