At the Bath Deserves Open meeting we promised to collate questions which would be passed to Tim Warren and the Council to answer.

Below you will find the questions and any answers we have received.

 

Questions About Bath Central Library

Please commit to integration not being the only solution on the table?

Martin Veal: Integration is the best solution.

Response after meeting:

I believe that by seeking ways to protect and enhance our library service, whilst many other authorities are closing theirs, we are absolutely putting residents first.

Please commit to working with us & librarians to ensure resident-led options are included?

Martin Veal: When the consultation opens, people can say which location they think is best

Response after meeting:

We propose to achieve this by developing an integrated Library and One Stop Shop service which will offer universal access to Library services and advice, information and help through our own and other public and voluntary services located in a single venue. I do not think it unreasonable to put this forward given that we can evidence that it works and is widely replicated across the country.

Please commit that those options are evidence-based with full business case?

Martin Veal: There are a lot of documents in the consultation and I encourage people to read them all.

Response after meeting:

Tim Warren: “On the 19th July 2017 we approved the next phase of consultation on two viable options for the location of our Library and One Stop Shop, this included a business case and comprehensive needs analysis upon which to make this decision and I ask you to engage with this consultation. As stated above our actions are guided by seeking to sustain services into the future with judicious investment to enable this and always with a view to the limited resources available across the whole of Bath & North East Somerset.

Please insist that cabinet members respond to correspondence within days?

Martin Veal: I’m aware I haven’t responded to residents’ emails dating back to January but I don’t see the point in responding if I don’t have the information needed to answer questions.

Response after meeting:

Tim Warren: “We always endeavor to respond to inquiries within a reasonable time period, but I am sure you will appreciate the volume of correspondence that I and other Cabinet Members receive on a range of subjects. Both Cabinet Members and Officers have logged and responded to all communications received as quickly as we were able. We have subsequently followed all communications up with an email to those that have expressed an interest in this subject with information about the latest consultation and pointing out the availability of the business case and accompanying document.

Please commit to publicly correcting false or misleading statements to rebuild public trust?

Tim Warren: I could look at that.

Response after meeting:

Tim Warren: “The consultation document approved on 19 July clearly sets out the position, the documents made available on our website about the need for an integrated service illustrate our commitment to transparency and effective consultation.”

Please can you undertake a review of why the Podium Library Event Room has been closed since November 2016 and get it cleared for use?

Please can you undertake a review of why the Podium Library Event Room has been closed since November 2016 and get it cleared for use?

Martin Veal: There is a broken rolling stack in the stockroom and Waitrose need to fix a lift. It’s possible the room could reopen in November 2017.

Response after meeting:

Karen Warrington: “We have gone through a number of changes which have required the space to be used for moving and storage of both equipment and books over the period of the 8 months the Room has been closed. The first move was due to the removal and storage of items to facilitate the creation of our new and improved Archives and Local Studies offer under one roof in the Guildhall. Secondly we have a broken Rolling Stack, which has been identified as a Health & Safety hazard and needs to be removed. In order to do this and maintain access to some of the stock just over 5,000 books have been moved to the Exhibition Room space to facilitate access. Staff are fully aware of the situation and we are unable to relocate the stock in Exhibition Room as it must be accessible day to day for the stock requirements. We would hope to progress quickly once the space can be made available – we estimate in the autumn.”

The largest item in the current budget is for a £53.6m spend on commercial property over the next 5 years to deliver commercial income. Alarmingly we know next to nothing about the details. 1. why such a large spend in a time of dramatic cuts to council services? 2. How will the people benefit after the cake is divided up between fund managers, developers, contractors, agents and laywers? 3. Which of these sites could be home to a new city library? See for example Worcester, Chester, South Shields, Barnsley, Exeter and Manchester

Forwarded to Karen Warrington 9/8/17

Why does B&NES seem to lack the will to find creative library options for Bath?

Forwarded to Karen Warrington 9/8/17

Have the council looked at the safety of Manvers St for the elderly and young children e.g. with tourists flowing out of the station in large numbers and with suitcases?

Forwarded to Karen Warrington 9/8/17

The Head Children’s Librarian (with decades of experience) was made redundant in December 2016. Were their views collected on the Modern Libraries Service? Will there be a new paid children’s Librarian?

Forwarded to Karen Warrington 9/8/17

How much has been spent on the E P&R which could have been spent on Library services?

Forwarded to Karen Warrington 9/8/17

The beautiful Octagon building is empty again after being turned into a bar. Can it be preserved as a community open space?

Forwarded to Karen Warrington 9/8/17

Which current empty BANES owned properties can be considered to house a reduced size “One Stop Shop”?

Forwarded to Karen Warrington 9/8/17