Plans for volunteer-run Polegate library

Save Polegate Library protest walk in 2017
Save Polegate Library protest walk in 2017

Polegate’s library is set to reopen and be run by volunteers if plans are signed off next week.

The town’s library was one of seven to be closed by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) last May, though a number have since opened again as community facilities.

Polegate library SUS-170914-105956001

Polegate library SUS-170914-105956001

Last year the county council agreed to Polegate Town Council (PTC) taking on the former library building in Windsor Way and running it on their behalf.

Under this agreement PTC would have paid ESCC for all staffing and running costs to operate the library with the same services and facilities as other East Sussex libraries.

However PTC informed ESCC in February it no longer wanted to progress with a service level agreement.

Instead it proposed a community library operated by the Polegate Community Library (PCL), which has been formed from a management group that was exploring community library options for PTC.

The town council has agreed to provide initial funding to cover the one-off costs for setting up the community library and towards operating expenses for the first three years.

According to county council officers: “The revised proposal ESCC has now received is for PCL to operate a volunteer-run community library independently of ESCC with a fully-repairing and insuring five year peppercorn lease arrangement for the building, a selection of stock, and the fixtures and fittings currently in the library.

“It is noted that the new proposal is for five years whereas the original proposal was for three years.”

The county council’s lead member for resources is expected to give the go-ahead to the proposals next Tuesday (July 16).

Officers felt the PCL proposal ‘would provide social value to the community in Polegate and is judged by the evaluation panel to be viable’.