Godfrey ensures council sticks to funding pledge for library

Croydon Council’s new leadership has honoured a promise to increase funding to Upper Norwood Library, matching that provided by Lambeth.

Local politicians from Croydon and Lambeth help to present a cheque for nearly £50,000 towards the funding for Upper Norwood Library for the next year

Local politicians from Croydon and Lambeth help to present a cheque for nearly £50,000 towards the funding for Upper Norwood Library for the next year. Picture: James Balston

Labour’s arts and culture spokesman, Timothy Godfrey, has pledged an additional £47,500 this year, reinstating funding cut two years ago in an attempt by the previous Conservative administration to close down the library, with a view to selling off the site on Westow Hill.

Yesterday, Tony Newman, the council leader, Godfrey and Upper Norwood councillors Pat Ryan and John Wentworth presented Robert Gibson, the hard-working co-chair of the Upper Norwood Library Trust, with the cheque which will go some way to help ensure the library’s future. Croydon Council under Labour has undertaken to match Lambeth’s funding for the joint library for the next four years.

“We are passionate about ensuring Upper Norwood Library is a vibrant community hub which clearly has the popular support of many residents in that area,” Godfrey said.

“By increasing the funding Croydon provides we can help to breathe new life into the library and secure its long-term future.”

Gibson said: “For more than 100 years, Croydon and Lambeth have jointly funded our unique independent library which serves all of Crystal Palace, including more than 19,000 Croydon residents. To have Croydon’s funding restored is a tribute to the people of Crystal Palace who have fought so hard for the library.”

The role of the Upper Norwood Library has, if anything, become all the more vital in the local area, following library closures nearby by neighbouring borough Bromley. That decision will highlight again the need for Lambeth and Croydon councils to seek some financial settlement from other nearby boroughs towards the running of this important local service used by residents regardless of local boundaries.

But for the timebeing, at least, Gibson and his campaign volunteers are happy to have the library’s future resolved. “We are particularly grateful for the steadfast support of all the councillors representing both Upper Norwood and South Norwood wards,” Gibson said. “They have honourably stuck to their electoral pledge despite the difficult financial climate. We would also like to thank Croydon North MP Steve Reed for his sustained commitment to our library.

“The UNLT is an enthusiastic supporter Croydon Council’s reinvigorated commitment to culture for the borough. With its support and investment we look forward to the library boosting its strong social and economic returns, across the fields of education, literacy, digital inclusion, local history resources, cultural creativity, community cohesion and local fun.”

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