Protests take place at first Swansea Council public budget consultation

20 DEC 2013
Protests take place at first Swansea Council public budget consultation by Amy Downward
From: South Wales Evening Post; Friday December 20, 2013
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Protests-place-Swansea-Council-public-budget/story-20348863-detail/story.html
THE first of a series of public consultations on Swansea Council proposals attracted more than 20 residents on Thursday night.  Cabinet members and senior officers were on hand at a public drop-in session at West Cross Community Centre to discuss proposals about libraries, culture and tourism.  It was the first of four themed sessions being staged over the next few weeks about proposals aimed at making £45m in budget savings over the next three years.  Residents and council members attended the consultation to protest against the proposed changes to Pennard Library.  Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, said:  “This protest shows the depth of feeling I am getting from people about these plans.  “I hope that this display of people power convinces cabinet members to go back to the drawing board and think in greater detail about how they make reductions.”

Councillor Nick Bradley, cabinet member for regeneration, said:   “It was great to see so many people there taking an interest.  “I wanted to reassure people that no decisions on any proposals have been made. “What we want to do is listen to our residents and take their views into account first.”   He said Thursday’s drop-in session showed residents value the services the council provides and also understand the financial challenges are not of its making.  He said: “There were some valuable discussions, particularly about libraries and Pennard Library. “My message to residents of Pennard is that if they are interested in taking over the management of library services in their community we want to work with them to see what can be achieved.  “We haven’t made any decisions and we aren’t proposing to reduce non-statutory services like many other councils have done; we’re aiming to create a smarter, leaner and more efficient council.  “If these proposals are approved we’ll be spending £1.5m a day in Swansea supporting communities and the local economy.”

Three further public drop-in sessions on adult services, education and young people and community and transport issues are planned for early in the New Year.

There will also be meetings with key stakeholder groups prior to the consultation closing date on January 22.

Senior managers at Swansea Council are also engaging with trades unions and staff on the savings proposals.

It is anticipated the final decisions on the proposals will be made when cabinet reports to a meeting of full council in February.

Online consultation was launched last week at www.swansea.gov.uk/sustainableswansea

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Pennard Library closure protest

20 DEC 2013

Pennard Library closure protest

From: South Wales Evening Post; Saturday December 20, 2013
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Library-closure-protest/story-20347069-detail/story.html

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

RESIDENTS and council members have protested against the proposed changes to Pennard Library.  The group protested at a drop-in meeting regarding Swansea Council’s budget at West Cross Community Centre held last night.  Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, said: “This protest shows the depth of feeling I am getting from people about these plans.”

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
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Peter-Black-lends-support-Pennard-Library/story-20319813-detail/story.html

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
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Campaign-launched-Pennard-Library/story-20315747-detail/story.html

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.