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Ealing and Northfield

Northolt Leisure Centre library all stitched up?

I can’t make the Northolt Leisure Centre Library meeting tonight as I am stuck at home on baby sitting duty tonight.

When I went to the first library consultation meeting in Perivale a couple of weeks ago council leader Julian Bell said something about the Northolt Leisure Centre library that made my ears prick up:

There is the opportunity to provide something else that will generate more income on that site.

Last week in the Gazette there was a letter from one of the Labour councillors for Northolt Mandeville, Chris Summers, asking for an open debate on libraries and that we think creatively. In his letter though it sounds like he has already given up on his own ward’s library:

But I accept that cuts have to be made and I can see why it makes sense to close the leisure centre library, when there is an excellent alternative less than a mile up the road, on the other side of the Target roundabout.

This sounds like a bit of a “let them eat cake” argument to me. He goes on to say:

If the leisure centre library does close, I see it is an opportunity to use that space for an alternative purpose and hope local people will let me and my fellow councillors know what they want there – a children’s soft play area? An internet cafe and study area (perhaps with a mini-library)? A bar and restaurant?

It sounds like the Labour politicians have already made their minds up.

2 replies on “Northolt Leisure Centre library all stitched up?”

‘It sounds like the Labour politicians have already made their minds up’

Well that would be no surprise. When Ken Livingstone held a ‘Consultation’ it was always to fulfill legal requirements and make sure that whatever he decided couldn’t be legally challenged. His mind was already made up long before any ‘result’ was known.

This Labour Council strikes me as being weak, consisting of people with mediocre abilities. Council Officers, who, like civil servants, do have ability, also have their own agenda. They are the full time employees who really run things and the last thing they want is some ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ Local Councillor with ideas telling them what to do. So they will lead their Local Councillor ‘by the nose’ to fulfill their agenda if they think they can get away with it.

Getting back to Libraries, it looks to me as though someone has looked at the map showing 1 mile catchment areas for the Libraries and said something like “The Borough has too many Libraries. Let’s eliminate some of the smaller ones while making sure all residents are still within 1 mile of a Library.”

Phil

I was at the meeting, though I arrived a bit late because I couldn’t find the entrance to the school that I needed.

I bumped into the two local Labour cllrs wandering the streets, also looking for the meeting. I thought, they will know where to go. They didn’t.

We eventually found it and when both of them spoke, they both made a pitch for a study area for students, forgetting that 80% of the people at the meeting were elderley people who wanted to keep the library because they didn’t want to catch the recommended bus that the cllrs thought they could to a library on the other side of the A40.

At the risk of offending this age group, I’m not sure a study area is a priority for them. They just want a well run library that isn’t very expensive to run. Northolt leisure centre library fits the bill.

So it does look like a stitch up. As does Hanwell. All cllrs yesterday received an email from the council’s head of legal services advising that just because Hanwell library was a Carnegie Library, that status would not prevent the council from selling it.

They know this because they have done a lot of work to establish this. Another stitch up.

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