A little over a year ago, the Labour council proposed slashing the hours of operation of the well used and much loved Cobbett Road library. After a valiant effort led by the Friends of Cobbett Road Library, culminating in a 500-name petition, the council backed down.
Cynically, Labour have not just dusted off last year’s plans they have gone even further and are now proposing shutting this library altogether. The council’s plans don’t just include Cobbett Road of course. This time they are proposing to shut Weston, Burgess Road, Milbrook and Thornhill.
This decision is all the worse because Labour promised in their election manifesto, prior to the 2012 local election, that not only would they close no libraries at all but they would actually invest more in them. It is no wonder that local people are left feeling let down again.
Just as cynical however is the Labour Parliamentary Candidate’s phoney campaign to save Cobbett Road library. She throws her hands up in horror and launches yet another of her petitions claiming she will feed the results into the council’s consultation. Of course we know this is merely another name gathering exercise like the recent one for the Bitterne Walk-in Centre. We think her time would be far better spent talking to her own party (who are closing the libraries) and persuading them to reconsider these dreadful proposals. Noticeably says nothing about the other libraries in the constituency leaving me to me make representations on their behalf.
When the Conservatives were running the council we protected libraries by bringing in volunteers and investing in essential repairs to ensure their long-term survival. Labour, in comparison, has done nothing to support libraries and we think that is frankly disgraceful.
We are committed to supporting the Friends of Cobbett Road Library and all users of Weston and Thornhill libraries in their battle to keep them open.