Worle library could close in £500k cost-cutting review
PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 June 2016
A library in Worle could be closed completely as North Somerset Council continues its cost-cutting review to save half a million pounds.
More than 1,000 people signed a petition against the potential closure but the council has not ruled this option out as part of its community services review.
The closure is one of four options being considered, which also include it merging with the children’s centre or being remodelled to reduce the space and create room for more services in the building.
The council is also contemplating changes to its children centres, including finding a bigger space for the Weston service, which is currently based in Meadow Street.
In other possible changes, Yatton’s children’s centre could merge with the Yeo Moor centre in Congresbury.
The Congresbury library could be run by the parish council instead of North Somerset, and the Winscombe library could be remodelled.
Despite the changes, the council says services will not be lost.
Its report, which will go before the executive members on Tuesday when they decide how to proceed, says: “The council will continue its commitment to these services and while they may look different once the programme is completed, services will be retained, or even improved, rather than lost as is happening elsewhere across the country.”
The executive will be asked to give the go-ahead on a three-month public consultation period.
The council says many of its libraries have seen a fall in visitor numbers, with Worle’s visitors down by 55 per cent from 2004/05 to 2015/16.
Visitors are down 30 per cent in Congresbury, and 49 per cent in Winscombe.
But Yatton has seen an 87 per cent increase, and there is a 352 per cent rise at the library on Weston’s Bournville estate.
When the potential changes were first announced, a petition to save the Worle library from closure was launched immediately.
The council report says: “The views expressed by those signing the petition will be considered as part of the broader consultation process as we develop bespoke solutions that meet the needs of this community.
“In response to the initial feedback (petition), it is confirmed that the options to utilise either the library or the children’s centre (as our future service hub) in central Worle are still open and will be subject to further consideration.”
There are likely to be job cuts as staffing is the council’s biggest cost for its community services.
There will be a review of services at The Campus in Locking Castle, Banwell, Castle Batch, Ashcombe and the Bournville estate this year, in a bid to save £50,000.
But many of the changes will be made in 2017/18, where more self-service machines are expected to be introduced, and the process will end in 2019, when the council hopes to have saved £500,000.
The report says: “It’s important to note that no decisions have been made at this stage.
“Most options that have been identified remain open and will be the subject of further engagement and consultation with a wider audience and further options may emerge as part of the proposed engagement process.”
The feedback will go to the executive in December, and any changes will be implemented by April 2017.
You can view the council’s report here.