School Crossing Patrols Provided to Existing Standards (£125,000)
Portfolio: Children and Young People Portfolio
To ensure a safe environment for children walking to school.
[Reference: Cabinet papers, Item 6, paragraph 52(e)]
FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Public Opinion: I have spent 3 full days in all weathers, with others helping, outside the Library, Wilkos, Post Office, High Row collecting signatures on the Echo coupons asking for more time.
People crossed the road to sign, queued up to sign, stopped what they were doing even with little children, shopping, on lunch break.
People were of ALL ages, gender, physical ability, ethnicity. From ALL OVER the town.
They spontaneuously and practically unanimously expressed their anger that yet another piece of Darlington's history was under threat.
That the Library building was important because it was given to the townspeople and they want to keep it as a library.
That they most certainly did not want to use a library in the Dolphin as it is an unsuitable environment.
There were teenagers, young families, all kinds of people, making these statements equally vehemently.
Some people were concerned about limited access - what if the lift breaks down in the Dolphin and they can;t manage the stairs. Some people don;t like lifts and can;t manage the stairs. There are already queues for the ground floor toilets at times and they don;t like lifts.
The overwhelming anger at the Council was shocking and upsetting.
It would be a grave mistake to sell off Crown Street that people will never forget.
Suprise was expressed by a single person in the public budget meeting that most people were there about the Library, that they were more concerned about losing a building than services for broken people. I have been told a number of times over the last 15 years that this is the Council's belief. I do not think your voters are with you on this and I have spoken to a great many.
We all know that we live in a digital world, and book borrowing is falling.
However there is a nationally recognised 'digital divide' of 20% of people who do not have access to digital services.
This is not a valid reason to close Crown Street. There is plenty of scope to revitalise the need for libraries as centres for equal, accessible, neutral, comfortable access to knowledge, learning, creativity, words in a comfortable space but with a digital emphasis and a cafe. The need for libraries to provide their traditional roles digitally is needed more than ever. It is also needed more than ever because of the increasing number of people arriving in our town with little or no access to our language and culture. The Library is a perfect place for them to be made welcome, and for us all to learn to communicate and share and value our differences.
The Library WILL be smaller despite claims that it will be the same. It will be less than half the size of Crown Street's ground floor. And there are no plans for where the archives, art collection and art gallery will go which constitute the other half of the space in Crown Street. Local Studies will be much reduced accessibility on an appointmenets system. This is despite the numbers of people using it last year being 17,200.
£330,000 needs to be sacrificed from the Futures Fund to replace the funding that having the Library in the Dolphin would contribute to its costs. I suggest that this could be found:
£66K The Mayoral costs
£60K Eastbourne Sport Centre which is running at a loss, hoping to break even in 2021. This is hardly fair to accommodate another sports facility when the Crown Street is being put under threat.
£40K Festival of Thrift. I don't see this as adding greatly to the town.
£60K Interest from the proposed Loan which would be unnecessary if the Library stayed in Crown Street
£50K Halve the amount spent on stock every year by the Library.
£50K Replace some School Crossing staff with volunteers.