Suffolk: No divestment for Suffolk libraries

SUFFOLK: Another nail is being driven into the coffin on the New Strategic Direction with the news that the divestment of library services is to be abandoned.

The news has been sanctioned by leader-elect Mark Bee, and follows the Evening Star’s call for the abandonment of the controversial NSD last month,

The county is to retain ultimate responsibility for running libraries – although communities will have an opportunity to help run individual branches.

And while there is no guarantee that all branches will be retained, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries Judy Terry said she expected the overwhelming majority to stay open.

She said: “I really hope that all libraries will remain open, ultimately we would like to be able to see new libraries created for communities across the county.”

The libraries are set to be run by a community interest company which will be fully owned by the county council – but will include representatives of communities across Suffolk as well as councillors and officials.

The decision to abandon proposals to divest library services from the county is the second major u-turn to come out of Endeavour House since the election of Mr Bee as leader of the ruling Conservative group last month.

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On the day he was elected leader Mr Bee announced that one of the council’s most controversial policies – scrapping school crossing patrols – would not go ahead in areas where there was a clear need for the service.

For the full story, see Monday’s Evening Star.

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