County councillors agrees to reclassify Braunton into the ‘Devon centre’ category for the ongoing library consultation – but warns there is no guarantee that will save it from cuts.
BRAUNTON Library campaigners are celebrating a ‘vital first win’ after it was agreed the under threat village library could be a Devon Centre ‘hub’.
At a public meeting last week Save Braunton Library and the community called on Devon County Councillor Roger Croad to change its status under the ongoing library service consultation.
They said its listing as ‘small and less well used’ did not reflect how busy it was and urged Mr Croad to place it in the ‘medium to large’ category instead – where it would qualify as a ‘hub’ with various services under one roof.
Today (Thursday) Mr Croad tweeted that he was ‘perfectly willing’ to include Braunton as a Devon ‘hub’.
But he warned: “It is only a name and doesn’t in any way preclude them from making savings and or finding ways to generate income.
“As far as I’m concerned, all 50 libraries are equally important and I have pledged to keep them all running where humanly possible. But I still need to reduce cost of the library service by £1.5m over the years 2015 to 2107, and no library will be unaffected.”
But Braunton campaign chairman Ben Hewitt said it was still a vital first step and necessary for a fair consultation.
“This is a great announcement but doesn’t yet mean the library is secure or safe from cuts. We now need to put our full attention to finding a sustainable future for Braunton’s Devon centre library,” he said.
“This is a major achievement for everybody who has put up posters, signed petitions and taken part so far, particularly the school children who started the campaign – thank you.”
Mr Hewitt urged people in and around Braunton to make use of the consultation and share their opinion and ideas before the July 17 deadline.
“We are looking to host another public meeting in the near future to share ideas about the Devon centre model,” he added.
“We are discussing a ‘Friends of Braunton Library’ group and would encourage as many of you as possible to join when it is launched. More details about this to follow shortly.
“It is crucial for us to work together as a community to look at ideas and space that will benefit all.”
Consultation forms are available from the local library or visit https://new.devon.gov.uk/libraryreview/feedback-form