What’s happening with Pennard Library?

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

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FoPL Latest News A4 Poster

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2014-03-01 FoPL Latest News A4 Poster.JPG

Poster, providing an ‘Update’, for March 2014 about the Pennard Librarysituation, what the “Pennard Library Action Group” has undertaken and achieved to date (q.v. their Report at https://friendsofpennardlibrary.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/pennard-action-group-report_1-1_final.pdf), what has been stated/promised by the L.A.Councillor Nick Bradley, and also advising about a website created by the newly formed “Friends of Pennard Library “

Swansea outlines proposal to cut £26m from budget

10 FEB 2014

Swansea outlines proposal to cut £26m from budget

From: Insider Media Ltd., 10th Feb 2014
http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/wales/108077-swansea-outlines-plan-cut-26m-budget

Swansea Council has outlined proposals to cut £26m from its budget in the coming financial year, which include raising council tax by 5 per cent and launching a community fund.The local authority unveiled its plan to cope with an expected shortfall of £12m in Welsh Government funding and £14m of extra spending pressures, following four months of public consultation.  Among the measures proposed, Swansea Council recommended raising council tax by 5 per cent. It also detailed plans to launch a £300,000 Community Transformation Fund to provide business planning assistance to groups seeking to set up community services

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

In addition, the budget proposed investing £1m in extra funding for roads and pavements, preventing the closure of any residential care home before April 2015, putting the closure of Pennard Library on hold, and reviewing all council fees and charges.

The council also set out its intention to reduce the number of potential redundancies by stopping the use of agency staff where possible and making greater use of fixed-term contracts.

Councillor Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance at Swansea Council, said: “The council is doing everything it can to protect jobs. In the past our focus has been on reducing management costs to protect the frontline and we will continue to do that.  “If we take action now to restructure the council to be smarter, leaner and more efficient it’ll mean our services will be more sustainable and we’ll be able to protect jobs in the long-term.”

Swansea Council’s budget proposals will now be considered by cabinet.

The Save Pennard Library campaign takes to Facebook

09 DEC 2013
The “Save Pennard Library” campaign takes to Facebook

Save Pennard Library campaign (on Facebook)

Save Pennard Library campaign (on Facebook)

First created on 9 December 2013 (just after hearing the devastating news that the City & County of Swansea (our Local Authority) was proposing to close Pennard Library at the end of the financial year 2013/2014 (unless the Community came forward with a proposal for running the service themselves), the “Save Pennard Library” campaign started on Facebook was “For everyone who wants to save Pennard Library from closure as it stands now! We will NOT accept a downgrade to our current service.

Still going strong at https://www.facebook.com/savepennardlibrary the page currently has had (as at April 2014) some 653 ‘Likes’, and so the site, those who have posted messages, and everyone who has clicked the ‘Like’ button, are to be congratulated and thanked for getting (and keeping) the Pennard Library situation firmly in place.