Community could take over the running of Upper Norwood Library
THE people of Upper Norwood would take over the running of their library under new proposals announced by Croydon Council today (Friday).
The scheme being presented to the council's cabinet on Monday, September 17, would see Croydon putting in £75,000 from next April to help fund the library operation.
This would be added to £170,000 already committed by Lambeth Council.
Croydon Council's aim is to resolve the dispute between two authorities which has seen it withdraw from the partnership agreement with Lambeth, throwing the future of the library into doubt.
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The proposals are being presented to Lambeth and the library's staff today.
Councillor Tim Pollard, the cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said he was hopeful the continuing financial support would fit in with Lambeth's policy of moving towards community-run libraries and meet the aspirations of the local community to see the future of the library secured.
The overall funding would fall around £120,000 short of the existing budget and Cllr Pollard admitted any new community operators would probably have to trim costs.
He said: "We recognise there is a need for a library in Upper Norwood and that it is not reasonable to expect people to travel to South Norwood or across the borough to get to a library.
"We want to support the community to provide a community library."
Lambeth has already set aside money to help any new organisation develop the necessary skills and capacity to run the library and Croydon is proposing to add £2,500 to that sum.
The building itself would be transferred to the new operators on a long lease with a peppercorn rent but they would be expected to sign a full repair and insurance contract.
Cllr Pollard said Croydon's hope was that the new arrangements would start in April next year.