Playhouse, Winter Gardens and libraries up for sale?
LIBRARIES and community halls across North Somerset, as well as Weston's Playhouse theatre and Winter Gardens, could be sold-off to save cash - according to leading councillors
LIBRARIES and community halls across North Somerset, as well as Weston's Playhouse theatre and Winter Gardens, could be sold-off to save cash - according to leading councillors.Councillor Andy Wright says North Somerset Council needs to find a more cost-effective way to run the town's two top entertainment venues and if needs be they may have to be put on the market.Councillor Ian Peddlesden says 'poorly used' library buildings may have to be shut down and sold to companies like the housing service so the cash can be better used for mobile book services.The fate of the buildings were discussed at one of the local authority's scrutiny panels on Wednesday.Councillor Andy Wright, who chaired a group set up to look at the way The Playhouse and The Winter Gardens are run, said: "This is a difficult subject as people in the north of the county don't see why they should subsidise The Playhouse and The Winter Gardens."I am recommending that we refer these issues to the finance committee to see in what way we can run these places better."My take on it is - why should we provide the service if we don't have to? We could sub-let it to companies."With The Winter Gardens, employment law means we have had increased costs and it may put it in the same boat as The Playhouse."I want to stimulate a debate to see how we can run things better."A group was also set up to look at the way libraries are run and report back to the panel.Panel chairman, Ian Peddlesden, says options could include shutting library buildings and community halls like Castle Batch Community Centre and selling them.He said: "With the libraries the idea is that if you have poorly used services in the area which are only open three days a week we could put the resources into mobile libraries instead.""The idea is to sell on community halls or we could go into partnership with, for example, the town council.The Community Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel accepted the recommendations of both working groups at Wednesday's meeting.The recommendations will now be forwarded on to the local authority's executive.