Re-location of Thornbury library to press ahead in spite of objections

December 19 2017
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THORNBURY’S library is set to relocate to the Turnberries community building, despite opposition to the move.

South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet decided to press ahead with the switch, saying the current library in St Mary Street would be replaced with something bigger and better.

But those against the change said Turnberries, in Bath Road, was not regarded as being in the town centre and it would be inconvenient for library users.

They also claimed that taking it out of the town centre would have a detrimental effect on the town’s shops, cafes and other businesses.

South Gloucestershire Conservatives, who had unveiled the plans for the new facility, said the existing library was in a poor state of repair and needed re-roofing, new windows, complete rewiring, repairs to the heating system and a host of other maintenance works which required large amounts of investment. 

They said the new library would have more space of higher quality and that with more people going to Turnberries as a consequence of the relocation, it would help make the business case to re-open a community cafe within the building.

Heather Goddard, the Cabinet member for communities and tourism, said: “Thornbury library needs so much money investing to bring it up to standard. 

“Rather than running to stand still, we are proposing to give Thornbury a bigger, better library, in a popular community hub, and we are hoping this will allow the cafe to re-open as well.”

But Liberal Democrats said the views of people who responded to a consultation on the move had been “ignored”.

They said the “lengthy consultation exercise” saw the public reject the move by a large majority of more than two to one, that most of the writers of 50 letters opposed the move as well, as did Thornbury Town Council.

Thornbury councillor Clare Fardell said: “Why ask local people for their views and then ignore them?”

The local councillors said they would do their best to overturn the outcome but that the Cabinet decision would not be easy to reverse.

Meanwhile, Thornbury Town Council said it was disappointed that the library user committee had been abolished.

It said it had been carried out without any consultation when it had been a useful mechanism for communication between library users, the library and South Gloucestershire Council.