Upper Norwood library funding cuts will not be reversed
Councillors decided not to reverse a decision to slash a library's funding amid angry scenes.
Upper Norwood Joint Library will not get any extra funding from Croydon Council after a scrutiny committee decided against referring a decision to slash its funding back to cabinet.
The scrutiny committee met last Friday after Councillor Timothy Godfrey put together 17 signatures to question a cabinet decision to offer just £75,000 a year to keep the service open.
It is more than £100,000 less than the £187,000 the council currently pays towards running the library. Lambeth Council has promised to pay £170,000 towards the service.
At a highly tense scrutiny meeting on Friday there were several heated exchanged between committee chairman Councillor Steve Hollands and campaigners in the public gallery, especially when the decision was made not to rethink the proposed cuts to the funding.
The committee did agree to look at the idea that a funding agreement is put in place for longer than two years.
But the meeting ended in disarray after Coun Hollands called a halt to the meeting following verbal clashes with the public.
Co-chairman of the Upper Norwood Library Campaign, Robert Gibson, that has been offered the chance to take over the running of the library themselves, vowed that the group would not give up on their campaign.
He said: "A lot of work was put in to the scrutiny documents and speeches that were made but the community of Crystal Palace was treated with contempt.
"I think the idea that a council can upgrade a library service one year, then it switches to a volunteer library with a grant, is morally wrong. The 60 per cent cut in our funding is savage.
"We will now have to look at our accounts and look at how we can afford to carry on within our budget.
Pat Ryan, councillor for Upper Norwood, said: "I thought the whole meeting was a disaster. The people that turned up on a wet Friday evening were treated with contempt.
"As a scrutiny committee it did not scrutinise effectively. The library is an example of how libraries should be run.
"It is a disgrace. Lambeth realise the great contribution this library makes. It has never been accepted by Croydon. The funding cuts is a total disaster."
Croydon Council has said the funding cut would bring spending on the library in line with what is spent on others across the borough.
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