Ex-mayor in plea over future of Whitchurch library

Councillors in Whitchurch were today urged not to leave residents in the dark about the future of their library.

Ex-mayor in plea over future of Whitchurch library

Former town mayor Rob Hewson has called on Whitchurch Town Council not to discuss plans for the town's library behind closed doors.

He today said it should be up to residents to decide what happens to the facility.

It comes after Shropshire Council announced plans to save money from its libraries budget, meaning a review of the management and delivery of larger libraries, such as the one in Whitchurch, would be carried out.

Mr Hewson, who resigned from the council earlier this year because of health issues, has now called on the town council to consider running it.

He said: "I have asked the town council what will they do to ensure the facility stays in the town for the people they represent. They wouldn't answer me properly.

"I am a ratepayer in the town and am entitled to ask questions.

"In my opinion The town council should look into this to keep the facility for who they are meant to represent. It is a vital facility for the town and we have lots of children who go there.

"We should let Whitchurch people decide what should happen to it."

Peggy Mullock, Shropshire councillor for Whitchurch, said she was hoping to be involved in the review of the town's library. "Whitchurch Library is well used, not just for library books but for computer work as well.

"The staff there join in with whatever event is taking place in the town," she added.

No-one from Whitchurch Town Council was available to comment.

Under Shropshire Council plans, libraries at Albrighton, Bayston Hill, Broseley, Cleobury Mortimer, Church Stretton, Ellesmere, Gobowen, Much Wenlock, Pontesbury, Shawbury, Shifnal and Wem face an uncertain future unless community groups come forward.

Meanwhile, The management of Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Whitchurch libraries will be reviewed.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for business and culture, said the move is essential to preserve the future of the services.

"Libraries are an integral part of the community and this is why we have been working extremely hard with our partners to ensure we can find sustainable solutions to enable libraries to continue to thrive for future generations to come," he said.

He added the council is keen to hear of other proposals for the future running of the libraries.

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