Bristol Central Library: More than 4,000 sign petitions against move

Bristol Central Library: More than 4,000 sign petitions against move

Published on 4th 2022.

Organisers of a petition against the possible relocation of a city-centre library say it shows the strength of opposition to the plan.

Councillors who presented the petition to Bristol City Council said it was signed by 751 Bristol residents and more from neighbouring areas.

Another petition on the issue has attracted more than 3,300 signatures.

The mayor's office said underfunding of councils meant tough decisions would have to be considered.

The council has proposed relocating the library as part of a move to save £45.7m over the next five years.

Alex Hartley, Lib Dem councillor for Hotwells & Harbourside, presented a petition to a full council meeting on Tuesday.

He said: "The public's feeling on the mayor's plan to close the Central Library are clear. They are overwhelmingly opposed to any plans to close the current location, which has been in use since 1906."

In questions to Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, Mr Hartley was told the annual cost of running the Central Library is £1.63m per year, while it earned £80,000 per year through leasing its lower floors to Bristol Cathedral School.

'Cheap headline'

A statement from Mr Rees' office said Mr Hartley had been keen on a "cheap headline" and had failed to take into account the "wider realities of local government finance."

It said: "Since the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government started austerity in 2010, councils around the country have been forced to close around 100 libraries a year.

"The mayor is proud that his administration held back the tide to protect all 27 of Bristol's libraries over the last six years but, with rising inflation and demand for services, Bristol faces a cost of operating crisis like other local councils.

"The cross-party Local Government Association estimates that, due to national underfunding and rising costs, councils will face an additional £3.4 billion of costs next year. This means that things which were previously red lines now have to be considered, including potentially relocating Central Library."

An online consultation over the future of the library will be available on the city council website until 23 December.

Original News 

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