St James St Library Campaign


Sale would be another scandal
November 8, 2010, 2:51 pm
Filed under: press releases

5 October 2010

Council plans to sell St James Street Library would create yet another Waltham Forest scandal, warn campaigners.

“With the town-centre arcade site vacant for over a decade, the EMD cinema neglected since 2003 and Walthamstow stadium still empty, surely Waltham Forest doesn’t need the anger caused by another boarded-up public building?” says Janet Wright, a member of St James Street Library Campaign.

The council admitted on Monday [4 October] that it intends to sell the library, despite Cllr Afzal Akram’s recent promise to consult local residents before putting the building on the sales list. It was closed without warning in April 2007, to save £70,000 a year towards a pay rise of £230,000 for councillors.

“The buyer would be the only person to benefit from this fire-sale of public property,” says Janet Wright. “The council has been wasting £20,000 a year on guarding the empty building, while the exterior becomes derelict. We have been asking the council to do its duty, find a tenant for the building to cover running costs in the short term, and allow part of it to be used by the community.”

The densely populated Coppermill Lane area has few facilities, so plans for yet more flats with no added infrastructure would be strongly opposed by residents.

Instead, residents have been asking the council to co-operate in putting the library back into community use. Experienced local fundraisers have offered to help reduce the council’s costs still further. Detailed proposals to form a community trust (which could bring in external funds to cover community projects in the building) have been put forward to Cllr Akram and to ward councillors, who say they would be enthusiastic.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Who on the Council makes these decisions? I though they were supposed to carry out the wishes of the electorate. The 3 local councillors claim to be on our side but what are they doing to fight oour corner with their colleagues?

Comment by jackie

Not understanding how local council works, I am puzzled that they can decide on actions against the will of the electorate?
How seriously are our own ward councillors pushing this with the rest of the Council?

Comment by jackie




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