UPDATE (4): Proposals to Close Westbury Library

Westbury Library

A Report was presented to Cabinet on 3 March 2015 which recommend that seven libraries should no longer be maintained as City Council Libraries and that they should either be closed or handed over to the community. Both Westbury and Sea Mills libraries are included in the hit list, as well as Clifton and Redland. A copy of the full Report (without appendices) can be seen here: Libraries for the Future – Proposals for Consultation


UPDATE (16 March): Since the presentation to Cabinet, this issue has prompted considerable public debate and, to a certain extent, the Mayor has now back-tracked and given further time to canvas public opinion as to the best way forward. Cllr Geoff Gollop issued the following “good news” statement on 16 March:

“You may be aware that I have been speaking out against the proposed closure of libraries in Bristol and I am glad to say that I have managed to gain yet more time. The Mayor has announced today that whatever the outcome of the consultation, no libraries will close before April 2016. The deferral is to give communities more time to put alternatives in place.

“I welcome this announcement, as it gives additional time to work up a full solution. I attach the Council press release if you are interested in reading more.

“Whilst deferring the decision, it does not alter the fact that we have between now and 30 June to put a case for future library provision in Westbury – Westbury library remains on the list for closure. Therefore, the meeting on Thursday 26 March at 7 pm at Westbury Methodist Church remains vital.

“If we want to retain a library in Westbury we will need to involve the community in running it and this meeting will start the discussion of whether that is possible and, if so, how we can make it happen.”

UPDATE (2 April): On a show of hands at the Community Meeting on 26 March, it was agreed to form an Action Group to oppose the closures.

UPDATE (24 April): An active Campaign Group was subsequently set up by Cllr Geoff Gollop following the 26 March Public Meeting. The Group’s first Newsletter – Save Westbury Library Campaign (1), published on 19 April – was circulated by email to all those who had registered an interest in being kept abreast of developments.

The Group’s second Newsletter was published on 2 May: Save Westbury Library Campaign (2)

Currently, there are also two petitions seeking support for keeping the library open – one promoted by the Conservatives: http://savewotlibrary.bristolpetitions.com/ and the other by the Liberals: http://www.clare4nw.uk/save_westbury_library

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3 Responses to UPDATE (4): Proposals to Close Westbury Library

  1. Susan J Mayer says:

    I am sure, there will be an initial ground swell of opposition against the closure of Westbury Library but just as the thriving ‘Stoke Lane Post Office’ was preplanned to close, I suspect this unfixed proposal will ultimately justify closure of yet another Community Asset.
    However, it is likely that these ‘austerity measures’ will seek to preserve library facilities in deprived areas such as Sea Mills (also earmarked for closure).
    Therefore, we have to come up with a solution that unquestionably ticks all the boxes in the consultation document; my suggestion would be, close Westbury and Sea Mills Libraries and integrate both at the nearby Stoke Lodge Adult Learning Centre on Shirehampton Road.
    This New Community Hub would be more centrally located for the majority of BS9 and Sea Mills Residents despite its location in the Stoke Bishop Ward and as an established Educational facility, any upgrading would be minimal in the short term.
    There is ample accommodation space for Library and classes, adequate disabled access throughout and the added benefit of incumbent staff; additionally, there is a vast, newly refurbished car park and children’s play area close by.
    It is currently open throughout the evening and has the potential to be open at weekends when local football teams (including Shirehampton Colts) use the sports grounds.
    All this, together with reduced overheads (three sites into one plus sale of old premises), makes this a most attractive compromise with the added potential of an enriching learning experience for everyone under one roof, from preschool through teen years and beyond retirement.
    Susan Mayer
    Westbury-on-Trym Resident

    • David Moore says:

      Stoke Lodge is far too far for many older residents in W o T to be able to walk, eg my regular-library-user 82 year old mother. She would be most upset.

      David Moore.

      My thoughts might be to develop creatively on both sites, a refined and developing in new ways service, cutting costs, and perhaps generating on site income through room rental, all sorts possible, I think(?). And maybe finding local retired librarians and business/charity runners to direct it ..perhaps retired ones again who can take it on as a locally run, and maybe our locally able finances (??) into the library somehow in a sustainable way???

  2. Val Pospischil says:

    By no means close Westbury on Trym Library! There is hardly any valuable community asset anymore which is open to everyone, is inspiring, educational, informative and inviting. Where you can go without having to pay an entry fee or buy a tea/coffee, get all the local news as well as having a very meaningful time in multiple ways.

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