OPEN letter to Bury Council.
With regard to the current library service review, we are asking you, and the council as a whole, to consider our proposal that we present to you below.
Having gathered information from various sources (Bury Electoral Services and Bury Library Services for full costings and the Election Commission and Boundaries Commission in London for legalities), we believe we have fulfilled your requirements for a workable and financially sound plan to save some our community centres and libraries.
These are located in some of the most deprived areas of the borough and provide a unique focal point for the communities they serve.
We propose that Bury Council alters the way it elects its councillors and that it goes to ‘whole-council elections’ (one election every four years with all councillors standing at the same time).
The procedures for doing so are set out in Part 2, Chapter 1 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. This would produce a saving of around £700,000 per four-year cycle or £175,000 per year (enough to keep four or five community centres and libraries open).
If this was combined with a review request for a reduction in the number of councillors per ward, from three to two, a further saving of £139,000 per year could be saved from the councillors allowances budget; made up of saving 17 times the minimum allowance that each councillor receives (currently set at £8,205.13 per councillor per year).
There would be a combined annual saving of more than £314,000; this is enough to keep all five community centres and libraries open (Brandlesholme, Coronation Road, Dumers Lane, Moorside and Topping Fold), together with one or two of the other threatened, but much needed, Libraries.
We are confident that if Bury’s councillors really do feel that closing so many libraries is as “horrendous” as many have stated, then why not support our proposal and contact the Boundaries Commission to get the ball rolling?
These savings would be permanent, thus allowing a continued funding stream to Bury Library Services in order to keep these smaller, community based, Libraries open for future generations.
We look forward to your response.
Seedfield Tenants and Residents Association Executive Committee
Tim Boaden, Jill Brown, Jean Giblin, Gary Hardman and Ada Morris