Jenny Willott and Eluned Parrott welcome plans for Community Referendum over Rhydypennau Library

2015 Ionawr 21 10:45 AM

EP&JWLocal politicians Jenny Willott MP and Eluned Parrott AM have welcomed the decision of a packed public meeting to start the ball rolling on holding a local referendum on Cardiff's Labour Council's proposal to close Rhydypennau Library.

The decision to hold a formal 'calling' meeting was taken on Monday at a meeting organised by local community activists and Cyncoed councillors, Kate Lloyd and David Rees, attended by more than 200 people.

Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central said:

"Rhydypennau Library is an important part of the Cyncoed community. Many of those who use the library are older, carers, have small children or can be isolated. The more vulnerable individuals in our community would be unable to travel into the City Centre or to other libraries. This closure would hit those most isolated and vulnerable in our communities the hardest, many of whom see their local library as a lifeline.

"Many parents and grandparents use this library with young children to help encourage their reading, and again, many would find it difficult to travel into the city centre.

"Rhydypennau Library is one of the most popular and heavily used branch libraries in Cardiff. To close this would be massive blow to the local community and it sends the wrong message about how much we value access to information and to learning in our city."

Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales Central added:

"Cardiff's Labour Council have suggested that to save their library, the community will have to step in, but there is a limit to what we should expect the public to do to run council services. Asking members of the public to take on the legal and financial responsibility for a public building is a huge undertaking, and not one to be taken on lightly.

"There are successful community-run libraries elsewhere in the UK, but in most cases it is simply that the running - and the funding - has passed from a County Council to a Town or Community Council. Without that kind of underpinning, which we can't provide here in Cyncoed, I fear that the long term future of Rhydypennau Library would still be very fragile.

"Cardiff Council has a statutory duty to provide a library service to its residents and by threatening to close this library they are letting down local residents, who are quite rightly outraged."

A 2,100 name petition opposing the closure was handed to the ruling Labour group last week.

Notes:

Rhydypennau is the third busiest Library in Cardiff with 138,426 books borrowed after Rhiwbina with 171,820 and The Central Library with 575,205 according to the most recent GoogleStats: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?ll=51.502973,-3.185692&source=embed&ie=UTF8&msa=0&spn=0.074798,0.157928&z=12&hl=en&mid=zF0cYRh0Ezcs.ksNvrKnZgnTU

For details of Library spending from 2004-2012 click here: http://tinyurl.com/o6xrtb5

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