Plans to re-open Langney Library as a community-run facility are forging ahead after the library group accepted an alternative unit in the area’s Shopping Centre.
Following discussions with the owners and management at Langney Shopping Centre, the Langney Community Library group plan to run the library as a Charity Incorporated Organisation and use volunteer staff.
Chair of the group Alan Shuttleworth said, “This is excellent news for the people of Langney and beyond.
“Both the owners of the Shopping Centre and the community group had hoped to be able to continue in the existing library unit, which the County Council is contracted to pay the rent for the next two years, and which makes sense for all parties.
“We have already agreed with the council the transfer of fixtures and fittings and some existing book stock.
“The Langney Community Library Business Plan in the new unit is based upon the group meeting the costs of the new library with support from the Shopping Centre.
“We have an excellent team and we are grateful for the support of the Langney Shopping Centre, Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, Eastbourne Voluntary Services 3VA, and Eastbourne Independent library and local volunteers. Our new concept involves strong links with local schools and the development of a community hub.
“We have started a programme of staff training and we would welcome any volunteers who would like to help with the project. We have established sub-committees to deal with different aspects of the library and hub and we will be holding Friends of Langney Community Library events in the Shopping Centre.
“It has not been an easy journey for the project team at Langney as this is the only library which is entirely on land which is not owned or controlled by the County Council.
“Whereas the freehold of Polegate library, Willingdon library and Ore library buildings is held by the County Council, and Pevensey Library is held by ESCC on a 99-year lease, Langney library building is not owned by the council.
“The Community Group had suggested that until the lease is re-assigned that the existing library unit would be the obvious place to locate the library as it may not be possible for the Council to reassign the lease.
“However, the County Council have not been prepared to agree to this arrangement, so the group have agreed to an arrangement using a different unit in the Shopping Centre.
“We are awaiting the County Council Libraries Evaluation Panel decision, but as there is no cost to the County Council we anticipate a green light for the project.”