Friends of Earls Barton library refuse to buy building on point of principle

The friends of group say they wont buy the building on a point of principle.
The friends of group say they wont buy the building on a point of principle.

A community group ready and willing to take over Earls Barton library says it will not buy the building on a matter of principle.

The friends of Earls Barton library were given some good news within Northamptonshire County Council’s new library plan, as they are one of the five proposed community managed libraries proposed to receive statutory protection.

This means that if the community venture were to fail then the library would continue to be run by the council as part of its statutory obligations.

The friends of group’s volunteers are already helping run the library in Broad Street after receiving training from library staff, but chairman Ian Chacklesfield is adamant that no funds will be changing hands between Earls Barton residents and the county council to purchase the building.

He said: “We are definitely not going to buy it on a matter of principle. If the county council says they want to sell it to us, then that is a no no. We want NCC to donate it to the community. Once we have that then the rest will fall into place.

“We are ready to go. We have plan ready and we have the charity ready to set up. We are working closely with the parish council and have the volunteers. We are in waiting mode.”

Mr Chacksfield says Earls Barton residents already pay for the library through their council tax and there would be public outcry if the popular library were to close.

The friends of group is being supported by the parish council which has set aside some funds to help with running costs.

The county council started a consultation this week on the new library plan which will see 14 libraries remain in its control and 22 handed over to communities, five of which will be given statutory protection. If it goes through it will save the authority £543,000 per year in running costs.

Discussions are still ongoing between a number of community groups and the council which owns the buildings of 12 of the libraries.

The libraries owned by NCC are: Abington, Desborough, Earls Barton, Higham Ferrers, Irchester, Long Buckby, Middleton Cheney, Raunds, Roade, Rothwell, Thrapston and Wollaston.