Croydon Council could be sued by another London borough after failing to fulfil its legal obligations towards the shared running costs of Upper Norwood library for the past four years.
Now Croydon wants to cancel the agreement with Lambeth, a move which might even force the closure of the century-old library on Westow Hill.There are certain to be many reports over the coming days and weeks of those who feel the harsh impact of cuts to their public service funds made by the Government and, closer to home, Croydon Council.
Reductions in opening times have already been implemented at some local libraries.
But Upper Norwood is in jeopardy of being closed altogether as Croydon Council’s ruling Tory group refuses to pay its share of running costs.
Last month, around the time his party colleagues were voting him a 22 per cent hike in his allowances, Croydon Council leader Mike Fisher was writing to his Lambeth counterpart seeking to quit the councils’ six-year-old joint management agreement for Upper Norwood.
Unsurprisngly, the burghers in our neighbouring borough are seething.
The striking thing about Croydon councillors’ stubborn stance on this is that their refusal to co-operate with Lambeth on this issue comes at the same time that their party leaders at Westminster are calling for more sharing and merging of local council departments.
According to a report on the Croydon Guardian‘s website, Lambeth’s Steve Reed said: “Croydon have failed to meet their share of the funding agreement for the past four years despite protracted negotiations.
“Now they are issuing ultimatums that are just a smokescreen for them wanting to pull out and kill the library.”
While the inter-borough agreement on Upper Norwood dates from 1994, it has only been over the past four years, since the Conservatives took control in Croydon, that our Council has failed to meet its legally binding obligations. Nice.