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Letter to Lancashire County Council from St Anne’s Town Council

Posted on: May 6th, 2018 by admin

Below is a copy of the letter sent to the Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council from St Anne’s Town Council re: St Annes Library closure.

 

Ms A Ridgwell – Chief Executive Officer Lancashire County Council
County Hall
Lancashire County Council
Fishergate, PRESTON PR1 8XJ

 

Dear Ms Ridgwell

RE: ST. ANNES LIBRARY – CLOSURE

I am writing to you on behalf of both the Town Council and the residents of St. Anne’s regarding concerns for the future of St. Anne’s Library which has been closed since 4thAugust 2017. Initially the closure was attributed to ceiling/plaster repairs, however the closure appears to be ongoing and the library is still closed 8 months later.

The Library is a local and important community hub, residents being without access for a considerable time. It is a Grade 2 listed building which has been awarded a well-deserved Blue Plaque for historical significance. It should be noted that Lancashire County Council are custodians of this highly important and valuable building and has both a legal and moral requirement to ensure it is correctly maintained.

It is now considered that it has taken too long for Lancashire County Council to share a report as to the true state of the fabric of the building; it appears that successive administrations at County Hall have failed to maintain the building correctly.

Whilst it is acknowledged that there is now the temporary provision of a Library van, it only holds a finite stock of material. With the increase in the number of services and organisations who insist upon on-line responses; (Lancashire County Council being one of these organisations) residents without a computer no longer have access to the very popular public computers which were available in the now closed St. Anne’s Library building.

The provision of the mobile Library unit within St. Anne’s and the extra hours opening of Ansdell Library do not in any way provide reasonable cover for a town with a population nearing 30,000 residents. I am sure you are aware that St. Anne’s is the largest populated parish within the Fylde coast.

At the Town Council meeting held on the 24th April 2018, it was unanimously agreed that the Town Clerk be requested to formally write to both the Chief Executive and the Leader of Lancashire County Council expressing the Town Council’s concerns over the delays in repairing and reopening St. Anne’s Library permanent building. The Town Council also wishes to have sight of the formal report on the current state of repairs, an indication of the building work, a time scale for the completion of the repairs and a projected opening date.

The Lancashire County Council website states that St. Anne’s Library will reopen “next year” but does not give any tangible dates nor provide any reassurance to local people. The library also accommodated the Registrar service and the displacement of this service is extremely inconvenient to residents.

I would be grateful if you could explain/provide the formal report on the current state of repairs, an indication of the building work required, a time scale for the completion of the repairs and a projected opening date. The Town Council wishes to reassure residents that their library does have a future; as things stand it seems that it is at risk of closure by “stealth”.

I look forward to receiving your response to the requested information.

Yours sincerely

Sally Taylor
Town Clerk
On behalf of St. Anne’s Town Council



Little progress made on St Annes Library repairs

Posted on: April 30th, 2018 by admin

If you’ve noticed a lack of any sort of work being carried out on St Annes Library that’s because there hasn’t been any. Even worse, Lancashire County Council can’t promise a date as to when the work will even begin.

It is now months since part of the ceiling collapsed and the library was temporarily closed with the promise that it would re-open shortly. It appears that the main beam holding up the library roof is in a bad state of repair, so it’s likely that repairs will be lengthy and costly.

Years of complacency and a lack of basic maintenance by Lancashire County Council means that they are facing a huge repair bill before it can re-open again.

Why haven’t we been kept aware of this lack of progress? Why haven’t our councillors been upfront and honest with us? Is the funding even in place to ensure that the building will re-open as a library again? This lack of transparency is inexcusable; the people of St Annes deserve better.

There will be a meeting of the Town Council at 7.00 pm on 22 May in the St Annes Palace, 18 Garden St. St Annes. Please do try and attend so that our town councillors are in no doubt about how we feel and can put pressure on Lancashire County Council.



Proposal for St Annes to get mobile library during repair work

Posted on: February 27th, 2018 by admin

A press release issued by Lancashire County Council today (27 February 2018) claims that LCC is in discussion with Fylde Borough Council about proposals to put a mobile library on land near the Public Offices on Clifton Drive in St Annes, to ensure people have access to library services.

The plan is to transfer 3,000 books from the main building to the mobile library.

Lancashire County Council is currently considering the results of specialist heritage conservation surveys which have been carried out to inform repairs needed to the grade 2 listed St Annes Library.

Areas under consideration for repair include the masonry windows, foundations to the 1930s extension, weather sealing, roof trusses and the cupola.

It looks like St Annes library will be closed for a considerable time yet.

 



Latest news from Lancashire County Council on Library re-opening

Posted on: January 30th, 2018 by admin

The below is the latest statement from Lancashire County Council (end January 2018) on the situation at St Annes Library. Please keep badgering your county councillors and especially Peter Buckley (Email:  peter.buckley@lancashire.gov.uk) -we need to ensure enough of us are seen to care about our local library.

Lancashire County Council is considering the results of a detailed survey to inform repairs needed to St Annes Library.

The library had to be closed in August 2017 after some plaster fell from the ceiling. It had been due to be closed later that year for survey work, but the unexpected event meant the library had to be closed for safety and the survey work brought forward.

As the library is over 110 years old and grade 2 listed, specialist heritage surveyors have had to be brought in to support county surveyors to undertake the work.

An initial survey has now been completed, with the results being considered by the council’s design team to identify the work needed before the library can reopen.

Areas under consideration include the masonry windows, foundations to the 1930s extension, weather sealing, roof trusses and the cupola. Due to the nature of the findings in the initial survey, it has been necessary to undertake a secondary survey of the building’s foundations.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We’re sorry for the continued disruption caused by the unexpected closure of St Annes Library last year and I know that local residents are keen to learn how things are progressing.

“It has taken some time to commission and carry out these specialist heritage surveys, which are necessary because of the age of the building and the fact that it is Grade 2 listed. I’m pleased we’re now nearly at the point of fully identifying all the repairs that are needed.

“So far we’ve had the results of the initial survey, but it has been found necessary to undertake a further investigation of the foundations. Our design team will continue to work closely with the surveyors, identify all the work needed, and propose a comprehensive scheme of repairs.

“At this stage, we do not know exactly how long it will take to complete the repairs, but we will continue to keep people updated as soon as we know more.”

Opening hours have been extended at Ansdell Library and Kirkham Library to cover the hours St Annes would normally be open.



Update as of December 2017

Posted on: December 13th, 2017 by admin

News of when St Annes Library will re-open is patchy.

As of 13 December 2017, we have learned that the the planned survey has not yet been completed, but that it hoped it will be finished before the end of January. Apparently, the foundations under the extension need work. All the books, etc are still in the building.

No date is available for when the Library will re-open but it seems likely that the building will re-open as a library and not as a community hub as was originally planned

Freckleton Library is planned to re-open on 9 January 2018; Ansdell Library staying open; Lytham Library’s future is still uncertain.



Latest upate

Posted on: October 18th, 2017 by admin

The latest news from Lancashire County Council

St Annes library had to be closed at very short notice on Friday 4 August after plaster fell from the ceiling and was deemed structurally unsafe. As it is a Grade 2 listed Carnegie building, a specialist heritage surveyor has inspected the site alongside Lancashire County Council’s own county surveyors.

The amount of work needed to repair the building is significant but has been approved by LCC.  At this stage it is not possible to give a precise timeframe for reopening since further complications may arise, but it is not expected to reopen until next year.

Meanwhile, Ansdell Library will maintain its extended opening hours.



St Annes Library closed for structural repairs

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by admin

St Annes Library will be closed from today (Friday 4 August) while Lancashire County Council investigates structural issues with the building.

Lancashire County Council have issued the following statement:

 

Safety concerns force temporary closure of St Annes Library

Friday, August 04, 2017

St Annes Library will be closed from today (Friday 4 August) while Lancashire County Council investigates structural issues with the building.

Specialist surveyors have advised that the building should be closed for the safety of the public and members of staff until further investigations can be carried out, after some plaster fell from the ceiling.

The library had been scheduled to close for four weeks later this year to enable a structural survey to be carried out but these unexpected events mean that work has had to be brought forward.

The closest alternative libraries to St Annes are Ansdell Library and Kirkham Library, which will extend their opening hours to cover the hours St Annes is normally open. (Please see below for revised opening hours.)

Customers of the Registration Office at St Annes have been contacted to make alternative arrangements. During the duration of the closure the service will operate from the Preston Registration Office. Anyone who needs to access the Registration Office is asked to call Lancashire County Council’s Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 6705 or email registrarslytham@lancashire.gov.uk

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We are very sorry for having to close St Annes Library at such short notice, however we must act upon the safety advice of our surveyors while we investigate this issue. The safety of library users and members of staff has to be our paramount concern.

“I represent residents from St Annes on the county council so I know how much people value this library and how busy it is at this time of year. We are working very hard to minimise disruption and reopen the library as soon as possible. We anticipate the detailed survey will take four weeks and any necessary work will then have to be carried out so this won’t happen overnight, but we will keep people updated as we know more.”

Revised opening hours for Ansdell and Kirkham libraries are as follows:

Ansdell library
Monday 9-6
Tuesday 9-5.30
Wednesday 9-6
Thursday 9-6
Friday 9-6
Saturday 9-5

Kirkham library 
Monday 9-6
Tuesday 9-1
Wednesday 9-6
Thursday 9-6
Friday 9-6
Saturday 9-5



Important announcement regarding the future of the Friends of St Annes Library

Posted on: September 30th, 2016 by admin

We are delighted that the St Annes Library building has been saved to become a neighbourhood centre that includes a library service.   The building is to undergo some alterations to accommodate the Registrar from Lytham, meetings rooms, etc. During this phase it will not be possible for FOSAL to hold its Wii Keep Fit sessions or any evening events. As such, we will not be planning any events until further notice, including the upcoming AGM.

We are pleased that we can still offer our Knit Together sessions on the third Friday of each month. The Library Garden will still need us – perhaps even more so given the planned building work – so please do come along and help out to ensure that it will continue to look attractive and cared for.  To find out more about helping in the garden please contact Anne on 01253 711123 or email friendsofstanneslibrary@gmail.com

Please keep checking back on this site for any further news. The Friends are a committed bunch of volunteers and will be planning a new season of events as soon as the Library work is finished.



Revised property proposals go before county council cabinet

Posted on: August 26th, 2016 by admin

Press release from Lancashire County Council re future of libraries and the establishment of ‘Neighbourhood Centres” (26 August 20160

The county council’s cabinet will be asked to agree revised plans to change the way frontline services are delivered, and save millions of pounds, by reducing the number of buildings the council owns and rents, after seeking people’s views during an extensive consultation.

Feedback from 7,700 responses has been taken into account in forming the alternative proposals to bring services together to form a network of multi-functional buildings known as Neighbourhood Centres, which would provide a base for a range of different services in one place.

The plans, which form part of the council’s property strategy, propose changes to where some services including libraries, children’s services, children’s centres, young people’s centres, youth offending teams, older people’s daytime support services, adult disability day services and registrars are delivered in the future.

Meanwhile more than 100 buildings would no longer be used for county council services and the number of places at which some services are available would reduce.

The cabinet will also be asked to agree to explore proposals made by a number of community groups and other organisations to take on responsibility for running some of the affected buildings and services.

The changes are in response to Lancashire County Council’s need to save £200m by 2020/21 as a result of ongoing government cuts to its budget and rising demand for services.

A report to the council’s cabinet published today outlines changes to the original plans, following a 12-week consultation held from 18 May to 14 August, with a number of revisions to which buildings are being proposed to house future services.

County Councillor David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council and portfolio holder for finance, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation – their feedback has been invaluable in helping to shape the final proposals and the Cabinet will be giving the report careful consideration.

“Our aim is to find a solution that still gives everyone in Lancashire good access to good services, despite the pressures on the council’s budget. We have done a lot of work to assess where services should be located in future, taking account of things such as geographic spread, accessibility and the needs of different communities. Some of the changes to the proposals reflect what people have told us about the way they access these services.

“We’re also keen to continue exploring the potential for other groups and organisations to take on responsibility for some of the affected buildings and services, so we’re grateful for the interest that has been shown in that possibility over the last few months. The report acknowledges that more work will be needed to assess the business cases that have been put forward.”

The report also asks councillors to agree plans to explore alternative options for the future delivery of library services, with a focus on examining whether community-run libraries could add to the statutory service provided by the county council.

A package of help is proposed to help establish any community-run library, including £5,000 to cover set-up costs, shelving, an initial supply of books from the county’s store, and advice from a dedicated community library development officer.



Please hurry and fill in the consultation – you only have until Sunday 14 August

Posted on: July 25th, 2016 by admin

If you want your library to remain open please respond to the consultation

It has been brought to our attention that not many of  St Annes residents have not voiced their support for the current proposal to keep St Annes library open. Lancashire County Council could decide to close St Annes library because of a perceived lack of interest in keeping it open.

Please do respond to the consultation questionnaire and register your ongoing support for St Annes Library. We must ensure that positive support for St Annes Library is expressed loud and clear, otherwise the town could be left without a library.

The questionnaire can be completed online here   (paper copies are available in libraries and children’s centres).

If you have not done so already,  please could you sign the ePetition here.