Council cock-up stops comments on library consultation

Upper Norwood library: Croydon wants to abandon the library, possibly with an eye on selling off the building

Local library campaigners are demanding that Croydon Council explains yet another cock-up with its website, one which has undermined the already shoddily organised consultation on the future of Upper Norwood Joint Library.

Croydon Council’s website was offline yesterday, “for maintenance”, preventing the public accessing the Upper Norwood library consultation online before the official deadline, which was to be midnight on Sunday, May 20.

Following complaints, the council extended the deadline by a day, until midnight on Monday May 21 – although being a weekday, with many residents at work, it may prove less convenient than being able to fill in the form at the weekend. Click here for the link to the consultation.

Croydon staged a controversial public consultation meeting last week, attended by at least 160 people, many of them concerned at the way Croydon has unilaterally broken its joint agreement with Lambeth for the funding and management of the historic library.

At the meeting, Councillor Sara “Book Token” Bashford had five security guards in attendance, as if the presence of her Tory front-bench Town Hall colleague Tim Pollard was not reassurance enough. Bashford repeatedly told her audience that the council took residents’ views seriously, and that they should email their comments to the council.

Trouble is, Bashford never managed to get round to mentioning where residents were supposed to address their comments. How convenient.

It would have been reasonable to expect that many of those who attended, or who heard about the Upper Norwood library’s plight as a result of reports of that meeting, will have wanted to lodge their comments online over the weekend. Yet Croydon Council made that impossible.

No where on the council’s website was any email address listed for residents to lodge comments or questions on the consultation. There was no such email address included on the consultation paper or on the poster produced by the council. Nor was the address given out at the consultation meeting.

It is 18 months since Bashford, in her role in charge of Croydon’s libraries, presided over a previous consultation, when she tried to propose that six of the borough’s 13 libraries might close, after having argued that it would be cheaper for the council to hand out book tokens than fulfil its statutory obligations of loaning books from libraries. Bashford was wrong both in fact and in principle.

In the 2010 library consultation, there were more than 5,000 respondees, the overwhelming majority opposed to Bashford’s Philistine closure proposals.

After that exercise, the council said it would not close any libraries, but claimed that more than 400 residents had expressed a view that they would prefer the management of Croydon’s libraries to be outsourced to private, for-profit organisations, rather than closed. The council has never been able to produce any record of the comments it claimed were made by residents who were in favour of outsourcing the borough’s libraries.

How convenient.

  • Inside Croydon: A news source about Croydon that is not based in Redhill. Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, email us at inside.croydon@btinternet.com
Advertisements

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, Education, History, Libraries, Sara Bashford and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Council cock-up stops comments on library consultation

  1. Pingback: Monday round up | Alan Gibbons’ Blog

Leave a Reply