The article states that Croydon and Lambeth Councils have met to discuss the future of Upper Norwood Library. The future of the 111-year-old library, in Westow Hill, has been cast into doubt after Croydon terminated its joint agreement with Lambeth. It points out that a packed public meeting was held in November 2011 as a result of this, and that Lambeth Cllr Florence Nosegbe explained to all at this meeting, that,
"...she had been trying to get Croydon around the table, but to no avail."
"Now both parties have met and talks have been described as "positive".But described as positive by whom? Certainly a strange journalistic style to employ. No direct quote from Lambeth's Cllr Nosegbe nor any comment from the very active campaign group for this library. Why could this be?
"The latest update is there have been meetings in the second week of January between Lambeth and Croydon. We've talked about how we can move forward and it was very constructive. We haven't said we are closing the library, what we said is we can't work with Lambeth in the way we have in the past."
Many welcomed the news and saw it as a cause for celebration, given the dismal history of this much loved, well used, efficient library, jointly funded by Lambeth and Croydon Councils. You can find the full sorry story on the Upper Norwood Library Campaign site but here is just a snippet of the problems in recent years. A quick look at this and it can't help escape the reader's notice that Croydon Cllr Eddy Arram is again referred to in less than favourable terms here, but we've covered the antics of this councillor on libraries before here and more recently here, where he seems to have earner the title of "gaff-prone Eddy".
But the following questions need to be posed:
Why only a comment from Croydon's Cllr Bashford and not from her Lambeth counterpart, Cllr Florence Nosegbe?
Why no comment from any one of the hundreds of people who turned out in force for the public meeting in November?
And perhaps, most curious of all, why refer to a meeting held two weeks prior? Why the delay? And why no mention of the public meeting held only the night before?
Could it be that this was a ploy to deflect from the focus of campaigners, holding an Emergency General meeting, only the night before this article was posted? Wouldn't this have afforded the Croydon Advertiser the ideal opportunity to assess views for themselves directly and to get real quotes from actual people involved on all sides? Wouldn't any decent journalist seek to get all views on the situation and attribute comments to real people, rather than just referring vaguely to,
".. talks being described as "positive". "Well, we'd like to draw attention to the following statements made, apparently not available to the thorough team at the Croydon Advertiser but found by many residents and library campaigners within hours of their release. We think they shed a slightly less rosy hue on the situation and help to explain the reason for the carefully chosen words of Croydon Council.
From Cllr Steve Reed, the Leader of Lambeth Council on Friday 27th January, 2012
"Lambeth Council supports the Upper Norwood Joint Library and we want to see it continue serving the local community into the future. We oppose the Croydon Conservatives’ attempt to close it down by withdrawing their share of the funding. Croydon’s claims that there has been any breach of the Agreement by Lambeth is untrue and is a smokescreen behind which they hope to hide their plans to close the library down. By cutting funding without a year’s notice we believe it is Croydon who have breached their legal obligations and the joint agreement.Lambeth commits to maintaining our share of funding for this library. We call on Croydon to withdraw their immediate closure plans, withdraw their plans to sell off the building, and sit down with us and community representatives to agree a way forward. We would like to explore the idea of setting up a community trust to own and run the Upper Norwood Joint Library with funding from both Lambeth and Croydon councils. We believe that will safeguard the library from future attempts by Croydon Council to close this library.”
“Can I thank Steve and his team in Lambeth for standing alongside the community and Croydon's Labour Councillors in fighting Croydon Conservatives clear attempt to close the Upper Norwood Library, a community trust would secure the libraries long term future and remove the threat of Councillor Fisher ever holding a gun to the libraries head again."
"Croydon's position on entering a new agreement has not changed but we hope the discussions will allow Lambeth to develop new management arrangements for the Library, in line with the report on libraries produced by their Commission recently. However, these discussions are on-going, so there is, as yet, no outcome to report."Seems pretty clear what the real situation is when you balance the actual words of Cllr Bashford with those of all the others and pit them against this flimsy article by the Croydon Advertiser, don't you think?
|Image courtesy of Phil Bradley at http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5253/5398040089_3b76b1e464_b.jpg|