Swansea Council leader David Phillips writes for the South Wales Evening Post

Swansea Council leader David Phillips writes for the South Wales Evening Post
By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

MY colleagues and I were elected to run Swansea Council in 2012, on a pledge that “community engagement … empowering local communities, enabling their voices to be heard”, would be at the heart of what we did.

And that is what we put into practise with the Sustainable Swansea — fit for the future consultation — asking residents, staff, businesses, the voluntary sector and partner organisations what you wanted, and then listening to and considering your answers.

If we scroll back to September last year, you’ll remember that we were – and still are — looking at having to make savings of £26-plus million this year and a total of £45m over the next couple of years.

For the first time since devolution, councils like ours are staring at a real-terms reduction in funding. It is a huge challenge. It means we have to think differently, do things differently and do different things.

Unlike some councils we saw this challenge as an opportunity. We shared with you our ideas about what the future shape of services might be. Some people — not all — doubted whether it was an open and honest effort to listen.

But it was and your feedback has influenced the development of our budget to help us achieve the smarter, leaner and more efficient Council people wanted to see in the future.  More…

AM Peter Black lends support to Pennard Library campaign

13 DEC 2013
AM Peter Black lends support to Pennard Library campaign, by Amy Downward

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

From: South Wales Evening Post; Friday December 13, 2013

ANOTHER AM has lent their support to the campaign to keep Pennard Library open.  The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has added his voice to those calling on Swansea Council to rethink their plans to close Pennard Library.  Mr. Black has written to the council asking them to explain the rationale behind setting out proposed changes to the library.  He said:  “The loss of a library is always to be regretted.  “But in this case that loss is made sharper by the fact that there is no alternative facility for many miles and no other library on the Gower peninsular.  “Nowadays libraries are about far more than books.   They also provide a range of other services including internet access for those who cannot afford it at home.  With so many services now only available on-line that will leave a big gap for the communities served by this library.  “I feel strongly that Swansea Council needs to think again and keep this library open.”  Councillor Nick Bradley, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said on Thursday that no decisions have been made.  He said:   “People will have the chance to give views on all our savings proposals as part of a comprehensive consultation exercise that’s now started.  We will be publicising the library consultation events through library posters and our internet-based social media.”

Campaign launched to keep Pennard Library

12 DEC 2013
Campaign launched to keep Pennard Library  By Amy Downward

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

From: South Wales Evening Post; Thursday December 12, 2013

COMMUNITY figures are campaigning to keep a Gower library open which has been earmarked for change under Swansea Council’s budget proposals.  Pennard Community Council have set up a Facebook page, and public meetings have been organised to co-ordinate opposition.  Pennard Library hosts seven classes a week from the neighbouring primary school and has a programme that helps the unemployed back into work.   Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, who is supporting the campaign, said:   “This is a well-loved and well-used library.  It makes no sense for Swansea council to be targeting Pennard when there is nothing close by, and nothing else on the peninsula.”  Arthur Rogers, chairman of Pennard Community Council, said:   “We as a council are determined to stop the closure of this much valued facility.   Swansea council is promoting Swansea as UK city of learning.   So closing this library and effectively ending public access to this kind of facility really sits at odds with that.”  Pennard and Swansea councillor Lynda James said residents where very angry and the library had a high number of users.  Councillor Nick Bradley, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said:   “We’re having to make savings of £45 million over three years but we’re doing all we can to protect the library service.  “No decisions have been made.   The proposal for Pennard Library is to transfer it to a community-led volunteer service which would mean the majority of library services currently offered there would continue to be available.”  Save Pennard Library meetings will take place on Saturday, December 14, 2:30pm, Pennard Community Hall, Tuesday, December 17, 7pm, Southgate County Club and Thursday, December 19, 7pm, Beaufort Arms, Kittle.