Just to banish any doubts that the campaign was still alive and kicking, only a few hours after Coun. Charmley had made his decision on Friday, 25 members of the Support Group met Philip Dunne M.P. in Church Stretton to put our concerns to him.
Mr. Dunne was well-acquainted with our campaign, having already written to Shropshire Council twice on our behalf, following a 45-minute meeting with library supporters earlier in the year.
At last Friday’s discussion, we pointed out to Mr. Dunne that Church Stretton seemed to be treated differently from the rest of the County, as in other areas, community groups were being actively encouraged by the Council to take over the running of their libraries.
Our proposal of this course of action in the case of Church Stretton Library was, however, rejected out of hand by Shropshire Council.
Mr. Dunne was also surprised to learn that some of the statistics printed in the Council’s “consultation” document were in fact flawed.
For example, the figures given for visits to Church Stretton Library were incorrect for the 3 years 2009-2012. When the correct statistics were used, far from the 44% drop quoted in the document, it showed that visits to the Church Stretton Library had actually increased by 11.5% over the 5 years to 2014!
Yet it was on such wildly inaccurate figures that residents had been asked to give their responses.
Mr. Dunne said he would be taking up these points with Shropshire Council to see whether it was not too late to make sure our alternative proposals were fully examined.