What now?

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(I realise we aren’t actually in a recession and I don’t know who Ms Crumblehulme is, but you get the point!)

The LBWF consultation period finished on January 31st, 2017. The Council were due to make their report (including the findings of the consultation) public and available by March 3rd and ready for the Neighbourhood Scrutiny Committee on March 13th.

This hasn’t happened.  A statement was released in February saying:

“It had been hoped that this report could be presented at Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet in March 2017, however we have asked Scrutiny that the Scrutiny meeting be rescheduled to allow the results of the consultation to be considered in more detail. 

Cllr Sharon Waldron, Cabinet Member for Digital and Customer Services said: “We received over 2,000 responses to the public consultation, and I would like to thank everyone who took part and gave their views.

We want to ensure that all the feedback we received is given proper consideration, so we are taking more time to prepare the report that will be presented to Cabinet. We have been very clear from the start of this process that we are committed to listening to residents.” (full statement here)

A recent update on the council’s meeting calendar here indicates that we are unlikely to see the report and hear what the recommendations and decisions for the future of Higham Hill Library are “before 1st June 2017”.

While more than 2000 responses is brilliant, what can we do in the meantime? The most useful thing is to make contact with the councillors involved in the decision making process.

The Scrutiny Committee members

and the current  Cabinet members:

NB. Councillor Clare Coghill  will be the new Council Leader from May onwards.

Some of these councillors are not local (ie. associated with the affected Wards – Higham Hill, William Morris, Chapel End) and may not be aware of the issues with the consultation, the concerns of  local residents and the misrepresentation of our library. They will only have heard the ‘official’ version and promotion of the council’s preferred option to demolish Higham Hill Library. It is up to us to let them know that destroying our much loved library is NOT the way to go.

So get writing, go to surgeries and ward meetings, tell them the truth about our library (all contact details are available through the links above). Let them know that destruction of the building means much more than losing bricks and mortar. And most of all let them know that they are not hearing the full story from their own officers!

Oh and if you haven’t done it already  – do sign our petition please!

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It’s World Book Day! Do something booky!

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It’s the 20th anniversary of World Book Day tomorrow, Thursday 2 March. Let’s celebrate the day and celebrate our local library too!

Please come along to Higham Hill Library after school tomorrow and show your love for reading and all that libraries offer, by coming along to borrow a new book. Readers of all ages, children in costume as story characters – everyone welcome!

The library staff have been unpacking the World Book Day materials, so they might be planning some activities too. We would really like  to take a photograph of everyone outside the library with their books at 4.15pm.

There will also be a special We Love Higham Hill Library competition to win a £10 book token!

Hope to see you all tomorrow afternoon!

TODAY is the last day for the Council’s consultation….

Please complete the online survey if you haven’t already done so.  Let the Council know that you want to keep Higham Hill Library where it is and to invest in it for the future. The survey link is here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/28DGH37

 

According to the Council’s website the report is due to be made public on 3rd March. There will be more to do, but for now fill in the survey and tell them:

We Love Higham Hill Library!

Don’t Move it – Improve it!

The LBWF library consultation ends on 31st January 2017. Take part in the survey NOW to keep our local libraries…

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Have you filled in the second council library consultation survey? (Did you even know there was a second one to fill in?!)

Please take part (even if you did the last one!) and let the Council know that you want them to keep your libraries where they are, and invest in them.

The Council’s survey is online here:

www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/28DGH37 

There are also paper copies available in your library.  The deadline for completion Tuesday 31st January 2017.


When filling in the survey please consider the following:

Survey Q1: “Taking everything into account, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the Council’s preferred option to relocate Higham Hill Library to the Community Hub in Priory Court?”

If you want to keep your local library, please make it clear you: ‘strongly disagree’ with Option 1

The Council’s preference is for ‘Option 1 – Relocation’. This effectively means that Higham Hill Library will be demolished, and Wood Street Library will be sold off and the service massively reduced.

Survey Q3. “Please tell us below if you have any comments on the options for Higham Hill Library (outlined in the table earlier in this survey and on our library consultation website) or if there are any alternative options to this proposal that you would like us to consider.”

We support ‘Option 2 – refurbish and restock’ – 

This means the libraries are kept where they are and the Council maintains and invests in them. You can explain your reasons for supporting this here.

Questions 4 & 6 relate to Wood Street Library – and we suggest the same response  – strongly disagree with Option 1 and support Option 2  -refurbish and restock.

The survey only takes 10 minutes and it’s our last chance to get our voices heard!


Higham Hill Library – definitely an Asset of Community Value!

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Blue Plaque for Higham Hill Library made specially by artist Danny Coope

Fantastic news last week for Higham Hill Library- it’s been recognised as an Asset of Community Value, by LBWF!  An ACV is “a property of importance to a local community which is subject to additional protection from development under the Localism Act 2011”.

Such brilliant work from the wonderful people in the We love HH Library campaign. Can the Council really bulldoze it now?

Remember to complete the new Library consultation questionnaire asap, and tell the Council exactly why Higham Hill Library is important to you just where it is: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/28DGH37

Don’t move it  – improve it!

 

Success on the library consultation, but what next?!

Following our legal challenges, letter writing campaign and persistent objections at all and any opportunities to the Council’s original and seriously flawed consultation process, they have been forced to address our concerns and back down! This is actually acknowledged in the latest issue of the Council newspaper, where there is full-page advert and article entitled ‘Listening on Libraries’.

A new consultation has been launched with an extended deadline (31st January 2017) and a new round of focus group discussions are already underway. See the Council’s proposals in full here: https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/consultation-our-proposals-library-locals )

The Council have provided a little more information about their proposals, but they still don’t clearly and explicitly state that the Council’s preferred option – Option 1 – results in Higham Hill Library being demolished and replaced with flats. Nor have they changed the many factual errors in their supporting documents and reports. They do, however, admit that the sale of the site will only raise the pathetic sum of £870,000.

Higham Hill Library is worth so much more than that to our local community!

We need to keep pushing to save our historic and much loved library. So what should we all be doing now?

  1. Take part in the new survey – it’s online now: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/28DGH37. Higham Hill Library is the first section. Support OPTION 2 – to refurbish and restock the library. Don’t move it – improve it!
  2. We’ve reached over 800 signatures on our petition –https://www.change.org/p/save-our-libraries-we-love-higham-hill-library   – can we get to 1000 by Christmas?

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