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Plan to axe libraries will impact on city's future

September 9, 2010 11:55 AM
Clare Blair

Clare Blair

Cambridge Liberal Democrats fear that the Tory-run county council's plan to axe city libraries could have severe implications for generations to come.

They are worried that with the city growing fast, it could be difficult to justify arguing for new libraries to be built on new housing estates when existing ones have been closed down.

This could leave great swathes of the city without any access to library facilities, they claim.

And in areas of deprivation libraries provide vital internet links for families, they say.

"These cuts in the library service have serious implications for Cambridge as a whole," said Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Climate Change and Growth, Clare Blair.

"It becomes difficult to argue for library provision on new developments when the county council does not see the need to keep existing libraries open. More children are being born across the county than in recent years and Cambridge is growing; the need for library provision is greater than ever.

"These cuts are extremely short sighted. They will leave more people using existing libraries, putting a greater strain on resources and some areas of the city could be left without a library."

Two new libraries are planned on developments at Clay Farm and on the NIAB site in Huntingdon Road; but Lib Dems are worried that in future it will be harder to justify the building of new libraries.

They are also worried that if libraries are lost, there will be pressure for the buildings that housed them to be sold off for housing or business use rather than retained for the community.

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said: "Libraries are a vital part of our communities. They offer essential resources for families and the elderly and are key to keeping communities together.

"The county council's plan is ill thought out and pays little regard to the fact that Cambridge is growing. We could see large areas of Cambridge with little or no access to library resources; this is unthinkable."