Many thanks to everyone for their continued support in the battle to maintain a library service in Pennard.
The current situation is that Pennard is now on a level footing with all other libraries in Swansea. The Local Authority has now stated:
“we have not decided to close Pennard library, nor to keep it open post March 2015, as we wish to make decisions through the process of reviewing the whole of our library service across the City and County of Swansea.”
The review is expected to be completed at some point in the New Year.
The above statement is an ‘about-turn’ in that the previous cabinet had promised to maintain the librarian service if the library were to be refurbished. Friends of Pennard Library (FoPL) had worked with the Local Authority to secure: £300k in grants and planning permission for a rebuild. A robust business case has also been produced which clearly shows that there is a footfall of c. 3000 visits per week on the library campus (which includes the school, Squiggles, the Community Hall, Doctors’ Surgery and Pharmacy). The new building will house not only the library, but a café, IT space, large exhibition room and a Vernon Watkins archive. These additional facilities will generate enough income to make the library self-sustaining in the long-term. The previous cabinet was about to give its approval for building work to commence – but this approval was never obtained due to the formation of a new cabinet with a different view. This has meant a loss of c. £196k of grant money.
At the Public Meeting held in the Golf Club on 10th November, around 100 community members voted to hold the Local Authority to keep its promises by legal means. In the meantime, FoPL is negotiating with the authority in order to obtain a 125-year peppercorn lease on the library site and seeking to raise grants to rebuild the library independently. So far FoPL has raised c. £2k from subscriptions and donations and gained a £2k grant from the Church Trust Fund. There are also agreements in principle for grants worth £105k from the Pennard Community Charity and the Sustainable Development Fund. We are well on our way to reaching the estimated £350k for the rebuild.
In short, we are confident that there will continue to be a librarian service in Pennard – it’s just taking longer (much longer!) than anticipated for us to achieve this goal!
I would like to thank the Pennard Community Council for its support and the FoPL Committee who have been working tirelessly to save the library. Namely: Carolyn Davies, Jude Davies, Rhian Ferguson, Lynda James, Keith Marsh, Roger Nettleton, Keith Roberts, Arthur Rogers and Will Smith. Thank you also to our librarians, Joanna Fee and Kate Hemmingway, for the excellent service that they provide for our community.
Sarah Joiner (Chair, FoPL) 25.11.2014