GENE BRODIE, libraries correspondent, on a council announcing that it has closed a stable door after its occupant has cantered off into the distance
Jason Perry, Croydon’s £81,000 per year part-time Mayor, has declared that the 1960s-built South Norwood Library will continue in service for the foreseeable future, and he has promised to not close any of the borough’s 13 public libraries.
Plans for the “brutalist” building, on Lawrence Road, have been in flux for at least four years, as Croydon Council’s previous Labour administration commissioned Brick by Brick to build a new library just up the road, close to Norwood Junction Station.
But that plan collapsed with the council’s finances and the failed housing company.
As Inside Croydon reported exclusively, the space in “Pimp House” intended for use as a library, never fitted out by Brick by Brick, has now been offered for commercial rent. It means that South Norwood’s library provision won’t be moving out of its current building any time soon.
That information was never communicated by the council to local library groups or campaigners keen to maintain the mid-century building.
Yesterday, a fortnight after Inside Croydon’s report, “Part-time” Perry got around to holding a meeting with the local library supporters and effectively shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.
“I was aware of the support among the community for keeping the library in its current ‘brutalist’ home, to preserve a piece of local heritage,” Mayor Perry tweeted, “so it was a great opportunity to discuss this in person.
“Despite the problems inherited from the previous administration, I am committed to ensuring the residents of South Norwood have a fit-for-purpose, high-quality local library.
“To be clear, my administration does not intend to close any of Croydon’s valued libraries.”
The Mayor’s announcement was greeted with a degree of subdued scepticism.
Perry, after all, had been a cabinet member in the previous Conservative administration at Croydon Town Hall which had tried to close libraries and ended up outsourcing the borough’s libraries, at massive cost and causing long-term damage to the service.
Perhaps it might have been more appreciated if Perry had given a guarantee that the borough’s libraries would once again be fully open.
In April, many of Croydon’s libraries were reduced to being open just two days each week, the last part of the toxic legacy of Labour cabinet member Ollie “Shitshow” Lewis, who also presided over the shambolic re-opening of the Fairfield Halls and agreed to the closure of Purley Pool.
Since April, South Norwood Library has only been open on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Read more: Croydon v Croydon: Brick by Brick building declared a ‘danger’
Read more: Two-days-a-week libraries latest step in ‘lingering demise’
Read more: BxB-built library which has never opened is now to be closed
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at email@example.com
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- By having a comment section, we provide all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content. Details of how this works can be read by clicking here
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- Inside Croydon: 3.3million page views in 2021. Seen by 1.6million unique visitors in that 12-month period
Where are all the Labour Councillors who posed triumphantly in front of the ‘new’ South Norwood Library built (and which already has major issues) by Brick by Brick at huge expense ? Never trust Labour with ratepayers money