Mayoral candidate supports Upper Norwood Library

Siobhan Benita at Upper Norwood Library

Siobhan Benita at Upper Norwood Library

First published in News Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

Independent Mayor of London candidate Siobhan Benita visited an under threat library and vowed, if elected, to protect every library in the capital.

Mrs Benita, who hails from New Malden and is the only Independent candidate running in the Mayoral Election, was at Upper Norwood Library on Thursday April 19 to lend public support to the campaign to prevent its closure.

Jointly funded by both Croydon and Lambeth councils, a dispute between the two local authorities has seen Croydon threaten to pull out of the deal threatening its future.

Mrs Benita said: "The reason I am so supportive of what you are doing here is I don’t think they should be shutting down a single library.

"The reason libraries are being shut is they are not run efficiently. You have proved you can keep libraries open by running them more efficiently."

She said as mayor she would look to take over responsibility for libraries and suggested she would work to have every child entering school be issued with a library card.

Bryher Scudamore, an Upper Norwood resident and campaigner, said: “We are delighted Siobhan is here. If only more politicians were taking this issue seriously.”

Consultation over the future of Upper Norwood Library began on March 19 and a public meeting was due on April 18, but moved to May 18 after it conflicted with the Crystal Palace Tower light show.

Mrs Scudamore said: “I’m glad the council saw sense and moved the date but it just goes to show they know so little about what’s going on up here.”

Mrs Benita also said she hoped to completely overhaul the structure of the Met Police to improve efficiency, while offering support to The Guardian’s Stop The Lee Valley Tax campaign.

She said: “It is crazy and we should stop it. We could argue South London has often missed out on investment. It is an old and outdated.”

Asked about the controversial Beddington incinerator Mrs Benita said she could not promise to oppose it.

She said: “The honest answer is this is very difficult, waste disposal in the capital is a huge issue. I would want to look at all the options available and take expert advice before making any decision.”

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