Letter to Ms. E. Heller, Co-ordinator of FoML, dated 4th March 2011
Dear Ms. Heller,
Library Services in Minchinhampton
Thank you for your two letters of 24th and 28th February.
At its meeting on 28th the Parish Council received the statement prepared jointly by Ian Crawley and me, following my meeting with FoML on the 21st. I believe that statement broadly answers the issues raised in your first letter concerning the continuity of County library service. You are welcome to publish it on your website, and indeed it has been posted on the MPC’s own.
So as to leave no doubt, I am happy to confirm that the Parish Council fully supports your efforts to maintain a County service in Minchinhampton, although we, perhaps taking a more pragmatic view, recognise that that is unlikely to be in its current form.
The second letter is a request for an undertaking not to enter into any agreement with GCC that might pre-empt the first objective. It raises a number of issues, and obviously the Library Steering Group, the body on which FoML is represented, will need to consider these, and make recommendations. This is not, therefore, at this stage, a directly accountable MPC matter.
- If the review takes months we do not have that time, given the timescale the GCC are using.
- I am now told that while the judicial review is in progress Mark Hawthorne will not engage in any conversation with any group that might be construed to be involved with Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries. I have to say I understand why he would take that view, and it is undoubtedly with legal advice. In other words, the review may ultimately prove counter-productive, if we stop all activity relating to discussions with the County.
The Parish Council view is, therefore, that conversations should continue to take place with GCC at all levels but I acknowledge and accept your request that no decisions are reached without further consultation with our groups.
Our Future Service Provision Working Party is not affiliated with any pressure group, and Cllr. Hawthorne is prepared to continue discussions with it to find common ground. We are, after all, still concerned with the well-being of the Youth Club. For us, this is not a single-issue concern, and Minchinhampton Parish Council is of the opinion that dialogue must proceed as the only practical course, albeit perhaps without formal conclusion.
Lastly, I would appreciate prior warning of any large-scale attendances at our Parish Council meetings, as it raised major safety and logistical concerns. I should have suspended the meeting. My personal view is that it did not materially assist you to make your points, as we recognise the importance of continuing a library service irrespective of lobby pressure.
Nick Hurst, Chairman of Minchinhampton Parish Council
THE STATEMENT PREPARED BY IAN CRAWLEY AND NICK HURST CAN BE SEEN IN FULL ON THE ‘STEERING GROUP’ PAGE