Councillors back community hubs plan
Labour Councillors (December 5 2013) approved plans to create a series of community hubs across Wolverhampton.
Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet considered revised proposals aimed at protecting library, youth and community services in the face of massive Government cuts.
The proposals were amended following comments and suggestions from thousands of service users, residents, staff and other stakeholders in what was the city council’s biggest ever consultation exercise.
The decision was subsequently “called in”, meaning the proposals were to be considered by members of the council’s Scrutiny Board on December 18, 2012. Scrutiny Board can either “note” the report, meaning it can be implemented as planned, or refer the matter back to Cabinet for further consideration.
Subject to the outcome from the Scrutiny Panel meeting, the plans will see a number of centres created in locations around the city which will offer a wide range of services from under one roof.
Cabinet agreed that six libraries – Central, Finchfield, Low Hill, Penn, Tettenhall and Whitmore Reans – will continue to be provided as they are at present, five libraries – Blakenhall, East Park, Long Knowle, Pendeford and Wednesfield – will become the location for the new community hubs while the other five – Ashmore Park, Collingwood, Spring Vale, Bilston and Warstones – will be relocated to new premises, though the latter two will be subject to further consultation.
Of the city’s 13 youth centres, it is proposed that nine – Bushbury, Duke Street, Dunstall, The Gorge, Graiseley, Park Village, Rocket Pool and Springfield Youth Centres and Epic Youth Cafe – will be retained as they are and three – Low Hill, Mirage and Oakley/Buckley – will be relocated to community hubs.
Ashmore Park Youth Centre will become the base for the new Ashmore Park Community Hub.
Of the city’s 22 community centres, Dunstall, Heath Town, Lunt, St Chad’s and Tettenhall Wood will be retained, while Lower Bradley, Long Knowle, Low Hill, Priory Green and Wednesfield Community Centres and Blakenhall Community and Healthy Living Centre will be redesignated as community hubs.
Ashmore Park Community Centre will move to the new Ashmore Park Community Hub.
Subject to consultation, Bilston Community Centre will be relocated to a new South East Community Service Hub.
All Saints, Dovecotes and Woodcross Community Centres will be transferred to new providers while Fordhouses and Oxley Community Centre has become part of the North East Wolverhampton Academy’s new Diploma Learning Centre while.
Portobello and Lanesfield Community Centres will be required to become self-sufficient.
Daisy Bank Community Centre is to be closed while Bradmore Community Centre and Eastfield Community Centre will be subject to further consideration and may either be required to be self-sufficient or be closed.
It is expected that the first new community hubs, those in Ashmore Park, Blakenhall, Long Knowle, Low Hill, Parkfield, Pendeford/Priory Green and Wednesfield, will be completed between 2013 and 2014.
Thousands of people took part in the consultation which shaped the proposals. More than 1,800 people attended meetings, while feedback from over 1,000 questionnaires, 12 petitions and hundreds of letters was also taken on board.
W’ton Council – the ‘No to Hubs’ petition was heard with the Penn Library petition at Council, Civic Centre on 7th November 2013
This is a general petition that can be signed by people right across Wolverhampton.
You can sign this petition even if you have already signed one of the local petitions.
Please note the petition text extremely carefully – it is not saying no to the concept of hubs, it is saying no to Wolverhampton Council’s current vision for hubs as it poses too great a threat to branch libraries and community centres.
A meeting of 50 people was held 31 July to form a ‘Libraries and Community Centres Action Group’.
The aim is to explore ways in which residents and communities can work together to continue to respond to the Council’s proposals for our libraries and community centres.
Fighting for Wolverhampton Libraries Facebook page……
9 libraries – Ashmore Park, Bilston, East Park, Finchfield, Low Hill, Penn, Spring Vale, Warstones and Whitmore Reans
& 7 community centres in Wolverhampton face being shut down or moved.
Tettenhall Library and Central Library would be the only ones in the city to remain as single-purpose buildings.
Under the proposals, libraries, youth centres and community centres would relocate under one roof at venues across the city, with some facilities closed down completely.
Campaigners from Save Finchfield Library addressed trade union delegates at our July meeting and support was pledged from UNISON, who represent librarians affected plus from all other local unions.
Council officers estimate cuts will save them £1.1 million over the next two years – around £600,000 of which will come from staff cuts.
Click to read UNISON’s Deposition to Scrutiny
A senior council officer was quoted as saying that “a library is 3,000 books plus a member of staff” (and not necessarily a librarian)
Walsall Library Consultation Report 2011: ‘The library is far more than a building with books in it’
Library users around the city said they were “very concerned” at the plans and have established community petitions and campaigns to fight to save their public services.
On 26th June Wolverhampton Council met to agree to start consultation about the future of libraries in Wolverhampton.
A twelve week consultation process was due to begin on 27th July. However, opposition members called this decison in for scrutiny, and the Council halted their consultation. All meetings and questionnaire were postponed pending the meeting of the Scrutiny Board on 17th July.
Under the plans, over the next five years, 12 smaller “community hubs” providing library, community centres and youth services would be created, along with three larger community service hubs. These would be based in Heath Town, Bilston and Warstones and would provide the same service, alongside childrens’ social care, and family support services.
Read more: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/06/21/wolverhampton-libraries-face-closure/#ixzz21Bvhh66M and http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/06/22/families-unite-over-threat-to-wolverhampton-libraries/
FECH Comments for Scrutiny meeting on Tuesday 17th July can be found here:FECH – Comments for Scrutiny.pdf
Wolverhampton Council – latest proposals for Community hubs and libraries..pdf