“Silo Mentality” means Willingdon Library will be closed

The Cabinet of East Sussex County Council took less than 5 seconds this week to vote to close seven libraries, after nearly three hours of public speeches and debate.

Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council and Willingdon Residents Association were represented by the Chairman Cllr John Pritchett BEM who made a very strong presentation why Willingdon Library should be kept open.

He said “Our case was very strong but the Cabinet decided to close their ears to all reason. They had a choice and I told them so. Unfortunately they seemed to want to adopt a silo mentality and were unwilling to try to maintain a joined up approach to their various strategies and policies. The outcome was the one everyone expected, but had dreaded. Many spoke so passionately against closure and I was particularly pleased with the support from our Member of Parliament, Stephen Lloyd, who also spoke against closure.”

Willingdon Library will be closed along with six other much loved and well used libraries on 5th May.

80 years of use was swept aside in Willingdon in just a few seconds as the County Council chose to close the libraries resulting in local residents having to travel elsewhere if they are to continue to visit a library; trips which will be very expensive both financially and in time, and which will cause yet more pollution on our roads.

Jo Saunders, member of the Save Willingdon Library Action Group said: “Now that the deed is done a new direction needs to be taken in the way that the service is provided in the Parish. It is essential that the community works together to retain this valuable resource”.

Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council now intends to look into keeping the building for community use and a new community library. The building was designated recently as a community asset after the Parish Council took the precaution of applying to the District Council.

There is a cost to running a Community Library and the community needs to come together if this is to be achieved. The Parish Council feel that the only way that this service may be continued is by volunteers forming a community group to run the library service.

Cllr John Pritchett said “The Council and the Action Group has been very active in trying to save Willingdon library and thanks are due to all those who have worked with the Council to try to retain this important asset. This is the only public building in Lower Willingdon – the facility must not be lost.

It is over 80 years ago that Willingdon was promised a community hall and we will now be negotiating with the County Council to see what we can achieve. The County Council say they will consider a viable proposal and we would be very pleased to hear from any local resident who would like to work with us to help keep a library service in Willingdon.”

If you think you may be able to help please contact Stephen Keogh, Parish Clerk, Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council, The Council Office, The Triangle, Willingdon, Eastbourne BN20 9PJ or parishclerkwjpc@btconnect.com as soon as possible

Note for Editors

The Parish Council website is www.willingdonandjevington.org.uk

Contacts for further information:

Cllr John Pritchett BEM Chairman of the Parish Council Tel no 01323 – 485415

Stephen Keogh, Parish Clerk Tel No 01323 – 480603