The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has raised the u-turn by Swansea’s ruling Labour group over the future of Pennard Library with the Deputy Minister for Culture Sport and Tourism in the Welsh Assembly.
Mr. Black was speaking following the decision by the new Swansea Council Cabinet member in charge of libraries to renege on a written pledge by his predecessor that if the community of Pennard could raise grant funding to renovate their library then he would guarantee the future of a council librarian on the site.
At a public meeting in Pennard last night, residents heard that £300,000 of grants have been obtained by the Friends of Pennard Library but that this money is now in jeopardy due to the ill-will shown by the council and that £45,000 of this money has already been lost as the timescales associated with it could no longer be met.
“The Welsh Government’s public libraries review extols the virtues of community-led initiatives such as that in Pennard as a way of preserving important local services,” said Mr. Black. “However, broken promises by councils threaten the viability of such partnerships. I suggested to the Minister that he needs to ensure that local authorities are signed up to working with communities if we are to preserve vital library services and that they need to honour promises and agreements made..
“I understand that times are hard and that the Council faces a difficult budgetary situation, however I also think it is reasonable that the communities of Pennard and Southgate and surrounding communities should expect that undertakings by cabinet members should be binding on the council and that they will honour them. To renege on that promise now would be a huge betrayal of those communities.”