Keep the pressure on Croydon Council by sending the letter below to Cllr Fisher, Leader of Croydon Council and the person responsible for the decision to withdraw funding - firstname.lastname@example.org. Also cc to contacts at the bottom. Please do this ASAP.
Dear Cllr Fisher (email@example.com)
RE: Upper Norwood Library
I write to you to record my grave concerns regarding Croydon Council’s withdrawal of funding of the Upper Norwood Joint Library as announced in October 2011 and to request that the Council takes very seriously the community request to engage in negotiations with Lambeth Council to determine a secure future for the library.
It is an outrage that the decision by Croydon Council to withdraw funding for a public service appears to be based on a ‘falling out’ with Lambeth Council. I am wholly aware of the contents of the UNJL Agreement and the obligations of both councils. What I am not aware of is a mandate to withdraw funding for a public service based on alleged breaches of a legal agreement. The implied public mandate is for elected and paid councillors to sort out differences in a manner which puts public service at the centre of discussions and saves the public purse from unnecessary legal expenses.
This appalling decision is compounded by the immediacy of it; at the very least, the 12 month notice period should have been served and therefore providing the community and other stakeholders with a reasonable timeframe to secure an alternative future for the library. This should have happened (and can still happen) regardless of any alleged breaches of contract because it shows common decency and regard for the REAL people who use and contribute to this valued service.
Not only does this decision demonstrate a complete lack of public service ethos and practice but it is also ridiculous when considering the modest sums that are required to fund the library; the community of Upper Norwood is all too aware that this library is 50% more efficient than any other library in the funding boroughs due to its independent status. What makes the decision even more absurd is that the Department for Media, Culture and Sport cites independent libraries as sustainable models for the future.
I invite you to come and see how well supported this library is, how well run it is, how diverse the range of activities are and how many different groups of society use it. With the absence of a town hall in Upper Norwood, the library is very much the hub of the community. Without it, where would our Big Society congregate and share information? 48% of the library users are Croydon residents. There is alternative library provision (although unsuitable for most including children, elderly/infirm or any other group that requires someone to accompany them on public /private transport) but where is the alternative community hub?
The area of Upper Norwood is unique in many ways and so is the library. Being on the fringes of 5 boroughs, the community of Upper Norwood is campaign hardened. The people here are used to being marginalised and sometimes forgotten but this doesn’t mean that they accept unjust, unrepresentative and unqualified decisions.
It is a travesty of public service that this decision has been made by paid public servants without any apparent regard for the community which the library serves.
I urge you to do the right thing and to enter into negotiations with Lambeth Council. I would also like to remind you that public servants are not beyond reproach and that the behaviours seen recently (and in particularly at the latest Cabinet meeting) by Croydon Councillors is not appropriate or professional.
MrMr Jon Rouse,Croydon Chief Executive: firstname.lastname@example.org
o CCllr Steve Reed, Leader Lambeth Council: email@example.com
o Derrick Anderson CBE, Lambeth Chief Executive: firstname.lastname@example.org
o Val Shawcross AM, GLA: email@example.com
o Malcolm Wicks MP: firstname.lastname@example.org
o Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP: email@example.com