Shropshire Star

Church Stretton library criteria to be set

A survey has revealed the most important issues in the future of a town's library.


More than 500 people have responded on what they think is most important concerning the future of Church Stretton library, which has come under the spotlight once more after years of controversy.

The most important "criteria" for the running to the library have now been revealed by Shropshire Council after a consultation on its future management.

At the top of the list of "very important" factors is that "the library is accessible for all those wishing to use the facility", with 90 per cent voting for that criteria.

In second place is that "the library is located in a town centre location", with 84 percent backing.

That will be good news for campaigners who want a community group to take over the running of the town library in its current location in Church Street.

Church Stretton Library has been the centre of controversy and a protracted legal wrangle in recent years, with a decision to move it to be run at Church Stretton School, out side the town centre, previously scrapped.

Shropshire Council started fresh discussions over who will take over the running of the service, and whether it will stay in its current town centre building, in February.

At that time it was confirmed that two parties had come forward to express interest in taking on the running of the service, triggering a bidding process that is still ongoing.

Other important criteria revealed yesterday include that "the library offers a safe environment to all users" at 77 per cent, "the library is operated by trained and experienced staff" at 62 per cent, "the local community has the opportunity to get involved with how the library is managed and run" and "the library offers adequate space for the services it delivers", both at about 57 per cent.

Residents in Church Stretton are now being asked to comment on the criteria, which will be used to help in the selection of a new provider of library services, currently going through a formal tendering process.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said that before the procurement of a new organisation to manage library services in Church Stretton, the council wanted comments from the public on the subject of whether the council is asking the right questions to the potential provider and whether it is weighting them correctly in relation to the views expressed by the public.

She said: “It is important that we work alongside residents in Church Stretton, and other communities in Shropshire, to shape how services will look in the future. We would encourage all residents to give us your views.”

Residents can complete the survey online via the Get Involved pages on the Shropshire Council at website

Paper copies are available at the library itself, at Teme Church Stretton leisure centre, the Mayfair Health and Well-Being Centre and the Church Stretton Town Council offices.

The closing date for the new survey is 5pm on September 18.