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Crawley library in danger of losing opening hours as County Council choose money saving over services

Another public consultation and this time it is about reducing opening hours for the library.

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Crawley library users are being asked to share their thoughts on proposed budget savings which would see a reduction in opening hours at Crawley Library.

The consultation running from 9 October to 13 November 2019 is, according to the council, aimed to help inform the decision due to be taken by West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member, Jacquie Russell, in November. 

The suggested savings include for Crawley to:

Reduce the evening opening hours in the library by one hour (from 7pm to 6pm) from April 2020.

This change, along with the same reduction in hours at three other Sussex libraries along with the ceasing of the mobile library service would apparently result in a total year on year saving of £175,000.

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said:

“Since becoming cabinet member, I have often been asked about what will happen to libraries across the county. As I have said before, we need to look at doing things in a more affordable way, but ultimately my aim is to preserve the core of the library service.

“With the suggested savings being proposed, we hope that the other services we have on offer at libraries across West Sussex will diminish any negative impact to users. 

“However, I still want to hear the thoughts of our library users by way of this consultation, especially those who are specifically affected by the proposed budget savings, as this will help to shape and inform my decision in November.”

But Crawley residents will be all too wary of consultations and how they can be just lip service and completely ignored as recently happened with the consulation over the Post Office move into County Mall.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“When West Sussex County Council Leader over a decade ago, I was pleased to procure and open the new Crawley Library, which ever since has been an important community resource. I would encourage all who care about our library to engage with the Council’s consultation and call for evening opening hours not to be reduced.”

You have until 13 November 2019 to have your say.

To find out more and fill in the consultation, visit haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries/libraryoffer/

CN24 approached Jacquie Russell for a guarantee that if the results of the consultation came back that there was a majority against the reduction in hours that she would keep the library open till 7. A response has not yet been received.

But West Sussex County Council did respond saying:

“This is a live consultation and we encourage residents to have their say before the deadline of 13 November. After the consultation has closed, the responses will be taken into consideration before any decision is made.”

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What has the National Lottery done for Crawley’s heritage?

It’s the National Lottery’s 25th birthday and in that quarter of a century more than £40billion has been raised for good causes – including £6.2million for Crawley’s heritage.

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Worth Park

Since the first National Lottery draw on 19 November 1994, money from every ticket sold has been invested in good causes across the UK, in the areas of arts, sport, community and heritage.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund distributes funding to heritage projects.

Crawley Museum

In Crawley, money raised by National Lottery players has enabled some fantastic achievements for the town’s heritage, including:

  • Restoring Worth Park to its former Victorian glory
  • Transforming one of its oldest buildings, The Tree, into the new home of the town’s museum
  • Supporting a variety of community projects led by groups including the International Mela Association, the library and Crawley Arts Service

Since 1994, across the UK, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has invested:

  • £1.6billion in landscapes and nature, including more than £950m in public parks and cemeteries
  • £900million in places of worship
  • £2.4billion to more than 1,200 museums and galleries across the UK
  • £115million into community heritage

Stuart McLeod, Area Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“It’s the National Lottery’s 25th birthday and a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the impact of National Lottery funding across the UK and in Crawley. From saving historic buildings and helping nature to thrive to celebrating our diverse cultures and shared stories, there is so much that quite simply would not be possible without National Lottery players.”

As a thank you, National Lottery funded sites across the UK are offering free entry or other special offers, between 23 November and 1 December.

Take a look here to find your nearest offers.

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