Fears library will close if its relocated

Nailsea Library

Nailsea Library - Credit: Archant

Councillors fear Nailsea’s library service will shut down completely if it is moved to an empty shop in the town.

North Somerset Council is planning to close its current library buildings in Clevedon, Long Ashton and Nailsea to save about £140,000.

A mobile service could serve Long Ashton in the future, while Nailsea and Clevedon’s library service is earmarked to be relocated to ‘smaller premises’ or ‘shared facilities’.

Cllr James Tonkin, who represents Nailsea for North Somerset, said: “If the council puts it in a shop front, it won’t be big enough or up to the current standards.

“Footfall will reduce and with reduced footfall, North Somerset will say there’s no requirement for a library anymore and shut it down completely.”

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North Somerset Council has previously suggested the library could move into Scotch Horn Leisure Centre, in Brockway, along with the children’s centre, a new pool, a gym and medical services.

The plans were announced in 2016, when the authority said it would involve a major upgrade or total rebuild of the centre to incorporate the variety of facilities.

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This would mean moving the library service twice, which councillors have branded as ‘ridiculous’ and a waste of time and money.

Speaking at a town council meeting on February 14, Cllr Anita Heappey said: “The cost of relocating and relocating again is utterly ridiculous.

“I think we should say it needs to stay until it moves to Scotch Horn.”

Running costs such as staffing and energy bills have been blamed for the proposed closure of the library building, along with wiring costs and problems with water leaking in.

Members of the town council questioned why they had not been approached about the issues to see what could be done.

Cllr David Packham, chairman of Nailsea Town Council, said: “If the building was in a real state, I would expect the council to come to us and explain what our options are.

“All you get are statements which don’t help and just set hares running. They need to learn to approach these things.

“Why didn’t they come to us and explain what they wanted to achieve?”

North Somerset Council, which vows to protect library services, was expected to vote through the plans last night (Tuesday).

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