Decision due on Gilwern library takeover

Free Press Series: Decision due on Gilwern library takeover Decision due on Gilwern library takeover

THE FINAL decision on a community council’s plans to take over a county council run library and education centre will be given tomorrow.

Llanelly Community Council is looking to take over Monmouthshire council’s Gilwern Community Education Centre to ensure a library is kept open in the village.

Last November the library had been facing closure for the third time since 2006 after Monmouthshire council officers said the libraries’ budget should be cut by £180,000.

But a report proposes the centre’s library services would still be provided by the county council, as part of an arrangement that has yet to be formally agreed but is expected to last for five years.

The library is currently open for 17 hours a week over three days and is staffed by a part-time library and information assistant.

As part of the plans a lease on the current library building on School Lane, which the community council pays the county council £5,000 for a year, would end at no cost.

Monmouthshire council will lose about £83,000 by handing over the building but would no longer be responsible for the maintenance and running of the centre.

It said in the report that it is looking to “reduce financial pressures whilst developing and supporting community resilience and new ways of delivering services.”

And Cllr Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire council cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said: “The transfer of Gilwern Community Education Centre building to Llanelly Hill Community Council will enable the county council, the community council and residents to plan for and develop future services together.

“We aim to ensure that we can not only sustain existing services but also improve and introduce new opportunities to encourage more people of all ages to use the building including the library based there."

As part of a consultation, all cabinet members, the council’s leadership team, heads of finance and legal service, monitoring officer and Cllrs Giles Howard and Simon Howarth, who represent Llanelly Hill on the county council, were all in favour of the proposal.

The future of the library was delayed in February after a special meeting of the community council.

But another option to locate the library at the Old School House was rejected because members said it would have been be too small.

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