Newell News Library Campaign Grows 6 Feb 2014
Newells News Library Campaign Sep 2013
Luton Cultural Trust closed Wigmore, Sundon Park and the mobile libraries on January 31st, 2014, despite petitions of 10,000 and 1,000 signatures against the closures. Maggie Appleton, CEO of the Trust, described the petitions as "just signatures". This is what passes as democracy in Luton!
The consultation was flawed. It never gave the option to keep all libraries. Wigmore, with 72,000 visits a year, was to move to a smaller library in a nearby community centre. Now Wigmore has closed with no viable alternative. When the Council were challenged as to why the final proposals bore no relation to the consultation, their reply was that a condition added later was that changes were "to have a positive effect on their corporate estate rationalisation". In other words they always planned to close these libraries.
These closures discriminate against the disabled, the elderly and infirm, the unemployed, children and the residents of these two large areas at either end of Luton. They will have no internet access for job searches, homework, knowledge or even checking the council's website.
Libraries of Luton Arise is here for the following reasons:
To ensure public libraries continue their important role across the growing communities of Luton.
To challenge the way the Council has handed over public funds to a Trust that now cannot maintain a library service.
The CEO of Luton Council confirms that they see no detailed accounts - they give the Trust objectives and look at outcomes.
To address the lack of democracy in our town.
"86.6% of the Luton population still live within a mile as the crow flies of a library"
We say - How many crows have you seen in a library lately?
"Ask Asda for some floor space for a library"
We say - You are just being ridiculous now!
Nick Gibson chairman when the decision was made to close these libraries and who is still a trustee said "This is the least worst solution to cuts"
We say - What is worse?
Quotes from Maggie Appleton, CEO of Luton Cultural Trust:
"10,000 and 1,000 petitions are just signatures"
We say - Is this democracy?
"we are grateful and proud to have so many passionate supporters of libraries who understand the value to the town"
We say - Not much point in being passionate when there is no library to visit!
Wigmore library had 72,000 visits a year and was a strategic library designed to serve a huge population, well located with easy access for all.
With their usual arrogance the Trust point to a no.17 bus to Stopsley which only has 4 car spaces with yellow lines all around. As most people travel to Wigmore by car this is not helpful - still what do these bureaucrats care?
To raise publicity and highlight the fundamental flaws in the consultation and democratic process. We will not stop until the decision is overturned and the people of Luton's democratic voice is heard.