This is the website of the 0f the Church Stretton Library Support Group Limited. Company No. 09648663.
Registered Office Address: 15 Stretton Farm Road, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 6DX. Registered in England & Wales.
The Church Stretton Library Support Group was formed following Shropshire Council’s revelation in November 2014 that, in order to cut costs, they proposed to close the Public Library in Church Stretton town centre in favour of a new “Community Library” based at the Academy on the outskirts of town. The new facility would be financed and run by the Academy in a converted building at the school.
It transpired that talks on the project had been taking place between the Shropshire Council, the Academy and other “partners” since May of 2014, but it was not until 6 months later in November that the general public were made aware of the proposal, when Shropshire Council organised a “drop-in” at the Silvester Horne Institute and presented it as the only option they were willing to offer.
The information contained in the “consultation document” presented to the public at this event was so inadequate that at a meeting with Shropshire Council officials and Councillors at Shirehall in December, members of the Support Group successfully argued that as the consultation period was due to end in 3 days time “the clock should be put back” and a fresh consultation should be held.
Unfortunately, the second consultation document was as inadequate as its’ predecessor for its’ flawed statistics and unanswered questions.
The Support Group had consistently argued that any proper consultation should include a formal public meeting at which members of the public would be able to seek answers to their concerns from Council members and officials. As both the Town Council and Shropshire Council refused to call such a meeting, the Support Group arranged their own and on 4th February 2015, over 200 people crowded into the Silvester Horne Institute. Suffice to say that the responses to the audience’s questions from the reluctant attendees from Shropshire Council and the Academy, merely demonstrated the lack of detailed planning that had gone into the proposal.
The Library Support Group feel that there are viable alternative options which would enable the Library to stay in its’ current position and we are more than happy to discuss these.
One of these proposals was for the local community to run the Library, through a Community Interest Company or a Charitable Trust and indeed, Shropshire Council is encouraging other communities throughout the county to take over the running of their Libraries. For some reason, however, Church Stretton is not to be allowed this choice. This was one of the options which the Support Group put forward in its response to the second consultation, but was rejected out of hand, the Council seemingly hell-bent on moving the Library to the school. This was in spite of the fact that 82% of those who responded to the consultation were opposed to the plan to move the Library.
On 26th March one Councillor, with no Press or public present, confirmed the decision to close the town centre Library in favour of a new facility at the school on the town’s outskirts.
The Support Group’s next move was to enlist the aid of the Lib Dem Group on the Council to have the decision “called in” for scrutiny by the full Council, at which the Press and public would be present. This request was refused by the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee.
Having exhausted all other options, the Support Group called a second public meeting at which another packed venue gave the Group unanimous support for legal action against the Council in the form of a Judicial Review of the process by which the Council came to