Villagers' library closure threat petition sparks response from county council
The local authority at the centre of Lincolnshire's controversial library closures programme has invited more communities to have their say on the plans.
Lincolnshire County Council has responded after the petition allegedly signed in error by its leader was officially handed over at its headquarters in Lincoln.
Councillor Nick Worth spoke out after villagers from Deeping St James in the south of the county handed in a 7,800-name petition opposing the plans.
It was presented by residents Andrew and Chris Bowell, supported by opposition county councillor Phil Dilks.
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And it was 'signed' by LCC leader Martin Hill when he was canvessed by Cllr Dilks earlier this month.
“The flawed consultation documents are based on a myth that the 15 libraries planned to continue as council-run are in the most populous areas,” Cllr Dilks said.
“The fact is that The Deepings’ population of 13,400 is bigger than five of the 15 areas who keep their library.”
But Cllr Worth, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for libraries, said: “The council has to save more than £150 million.
“And that means finding new ways of delivering some services.
“The way in which libraries are used has changed over the last few decades, something that has only been accelerated by modern technology.
“So it makes sense that the service adapts with the times.
“We’ve had a lot of success with community-run libraries over the last few years and we think this model can work elsewhere.
“But before we make a final decision we want to hear what local people think is the best way forward.
“People have until September 30 to have their say, which they can do by filling in our online questionnaire at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/librariesconsultation.
“Alternatively, they can call our customer service centre on 01522 782010.”