North Somerset Council spending £800k in cash-saving bid after libraries review
PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:30 14 February 2017
North Somerset Council will spend more than £800,000 on libraries and children’s centres in a bid to save money in the long term following a review of its services.
Almost half a million pounds will be spent getting buildings up to scratch as some libraries and children’s centres will be merged into a single premises.
A further £175,000 will be spent on implementing self-service facilities, while £30,000 has been set aside to enhance IT infrastructure.
The council hopes the initial investment will save hundreds of thousands of pounds in the coming years due to reduced overheads, with savings of £500,000 forecast by 2019.
The changes to the services are due to be completed by July.
Work to convert Milton and Old Worle Children’s Centre, which will accommodate Worle Library, is set to cost £167,000 alone.
Yatton Library, which will soon house Yatton Moor Children’s Centre, will receive a new lift at the cost of £142,000, while £63,000 will be spent on work elsewhere at the site.
Opening hours at Winscombe Library will increase by 263 per cent – despite a reduction in staffed hours – thanks to self-service technology and staffless opening times. Worle and Yatton libraries will also benefit from increased opening times, while control of Congresbury Library will be handed to the parish council.
The council’s executive member for libraries, Felicity Baker, said: “We want to retain service provision within communities.
“However, the continued delivery of both children’s centres and libraries in their current format is not financially sustainable.
“There is much synergy between both children’s centre and library services. Both provide trusted spaces for our communities, with a focus on customer service.
“Reducing our overheads and using our resources in the most flexible way will enable us to maintain quality future service provision.”