From: Paul Woolmer
Wannock Drive, Polegate
As from May 5 Polegate Library together with six others plus the mobile library service closed.
My understanding is that under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act East Sussex County Council (ESCC) are obliged to provide library facilities.
Having read through the 600+ pages of the Transformation Programme Appendices, ESCC will be complying with their obligations because 17 libraries will remain open.
Accessibility to those libraries that remain open will be a problem for numerous individuals and for a variety of reasons.
However, five ‘business models’ that have the potential to permit a library to remain open have been suggested, the details of which requires one to read the documents. As for Polegate, the town council have expressed an interest in running the library service, which is an admirable ambition. At the 2018 Annual Town Assembly it was suggested that the annual cost to run Polegate Library would be around £72,000, this cost to be borne by Polegate council tax payers and, in future years an estimated £25 extra per annum for band D properties. One resident thought that coffee and cake sales could help to supplement the income, hardly a sensible mix in a library. Also that it could be a community hub, well there is a community centre 50 yards away. Importantly it was stated that people from Stone Cross, Willingdon, Wannock and the wider surrounds use Polegate Library. That’s was fine when funded from ESCC budget, but no way if funded by Polegate council tax payers. Consider this, yet again; we pay our income tax plus all the other taxes, government grants to local authorities are massively reduced, consequences being council tax increases for police, fire and adult services, and large pay rises for county councillors. The nett result being, pay, pay and pay again to get reductions in all services. Basically this is successive levels of authority passing the buck. ESCC states that Polegate Library has not been identified as having space whereby it is able to generate income. That alone speaks for itself . ESCC estimate the upkeep costs 2017 to 2022 for Polegate Library at £132,976, that is to accommodate the 8.2 annual visits for each ticket holder resident in Polegate. You do the sums. The idea for Polegate Town Council to run the library is like the Wreck of the Hesperus, look it up at a Library if you can find one open.