Wirral Council chief steps in to deny library 'closure plan'

Wirral Globe: Graham Burgess put his cards on the table by stating there are "no plans to close any sites" Graham Burgess put his cards on the table by stating there are "no plans to close any sites"

Wirral Council has taken steps to reassure the public that it has "absolutely no proposals" to close the borough's libraries.

Last week the Globe exclusively revealed that as part of major cost saving measures, the authority is to consider recruiting voluntary groups to help run the service under a community-ownership scheme.

But today, other media in Merseyside have reported the peninsula's 15 libraries are facing the axe.

The headlines have led council chief executive Graham Burgess to put his cards on the table by stating there are "no plans to close any sites."

He said: "We are faced with an incredibly difficult financial position, which will impact on service provision right across the authority.

"The swingeing reductions in our Government grant mean that we simply cannot continue to provide all of the services we currently provide.

"I've recently announced very serious reductions in the number of staff we employ, and the fact is that there will be more to follow.

"Despite this, I want it to be clear that there are absolutely no proposals on the table to close any libraries.

"We are exploring all options for services, as is only right, but we have no plans to close any sites." 

Library closures are an extremely sensitive issue in Wirral after a hugely controversial policy was launched in 2009.

The Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition administration caused an outcry when it announced its intention to close 11 libraries under the so-called Strategic Asset Review - promising "fewer but better" libraries.

The plan hit the skids when, faced with ever-increasing protests making national headlines, the Government stepped in and ordered a public inquiry.

But before the inspector's report was published, the scheme was dropped with the then leader of the council, Cllr Steve Foulkes, saying anticipated cost-savings "were not being realised."

Wirral needs to slash spending by £57m over the next two years, and its cuts package involves shedding 500 more staff and transferring management of council-run day nurseries to the private sector.

The proposal to examine whether volunteers could take over management of some libraries will be discussed by the council cabinet this Thursday.

Comments (8)

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11:11am Wed 18 Jun 14

bigfoot says...

This quote from the chief exec ranks with 'Peace in our time' and I have every confidence in ****'.
And please to we have to have his mugshot heading every article? I am getting snowblind from his teeth! 'Oh the shark has pearly teeth dear and he shows them pearly white...'
It is very like the totalitarian regimes where they have the 'dear leader' pictured everywhere-we all know what he looks like-unfortunately!
This quote from the chief exec ranks with 'Peace in our time' and I have every confidence in ****'. And please to we have to have his mugshot heading every article? I am getting snowblind from his teeth! 'Oh the shark has pearly teeth dear and he shows them pearly white...' It is very like the totalitarian regimes where they have the 'dear leader' pictured everywhere-we all know what he looks like-unfortunately! bigfoot
  • Score: 9

11:40am Wed 18 Jun 14

WirralAl says...

Do we trust what he is saying them any more? Never!

Perhaps they new Mayor could go put on his new official outfit on and personally close each of them down as part of his new role.

Perhaps we could have a" Fewer but better Councillors"
Do we trust what he is saying them any more? Never! Perhaps they new Mayor could go put on his new official outfit on and personally close each of them down as part of his new role. Perhaps we could have a" Fewer but better Councillors" WirralAl
  • Score: 8

11:46am Wed 18 Jun 14

Growl Tiger says...

Perhaps the senior officers with over-inflated salaries could start taking decisions without the need to hire and hide behind “independent outside consultants”.
Perhaps the senior officers with over-inflated salaries could start taking decisions without the need to hire and hide behind “independent outside consultants”. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 10

12:10pm Wed 18 Jun 14

minimad69 says...

Growl Tiger wrote:
Perhaps the senior officers with over-inflated salaries could start taking decisions without the need to hire and hide behind “independent outside consultants”.
Perhaps they could recommended sacking themselves... - somehow I doubt it..
[quote][p][bold]Growl Tiger[/bold] wrote: Perhaps the senior officers with over-inflated salaries could start taking decisions without the need to hire and hide behind “independent outside consultants”.[/p][/quote]Perhaps they could recommended sacking themselves... - somehow I doubt it.. minimad69
  • Score: 6

12:48pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Local Govwatcher1 says...

Graham Burgess putting his cards on the table. I've just fallen off my seat laughing.
Graham Burgess putting his cards on the table. I've just fallen off my seat laughing. Local Govwatcher1
  • Score: 8

1:50pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Cheesy Peas says...

How utterly disingenuous.

If "community engagement" doesn't happen - and why on earth should it, when that's what we pay our council tax for services such as libraries in the first place (but not for building swanky staircases and kitting out the world's most expensive toilets) - then of course they'll close them.

Remind me who is head of community engagement at WBC? Hope this doesn't hurt anyone's feelings.
How utterly disingenuous. If "community engagement" doesn't happen - and why on earth should it, when that's what we pay our council tax for services such as libraries in the first place (but not for building swanky staircases and kitting out the world's most expensive toilets) - then of course they'll close them. Remind me who is head of community engagement at WBC? Hope this doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. Cheesy Peas
  • Score: 6

1:56pm Wed 18 Jun 14

uncatom says...

Absolutely no plans to close Wirral Libraries, but if we sack the staff there will be no one to run them, step in the much talked about volunteers, well we did promise not to close the libraries, didn't we ?
Absolutely no plans to close Wirral Libraries, but if we sack the staff there will be no one to run them, step in the much talked about volunteers, well we did promise not to close the libraries, didn't we ? uncatom
  • Score: 6

3:42pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Joeblogg85 says...

This Library thing has been hanging around like a bad smell for years. Senior Officers earn your money by putting forward some genuine options for the future of the service and ask for some public opinion. Wirral people are not stupid. They understand there is financial challenges. I'm sure with a bit of joined up thinking that a good quality library service can be maintained.
This Library thing has been hanging around like a bad smell for years. Senior Officers earn your money by putting forward some genuine options for the future of the service and ask for some public opinion. Wirral people are not stupid. They understand there is financial challenges. I'm sure with a bit of joined up thinking that a good quality library service can be maintained. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 3

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