|Shepley Parish Cllr Michelle Atkinson, Robert Barraclough and Cllr Derek Hardcastle at Shepley Library|
Shepley Library is one of a number of libraries threatened with closure or a reduced service under Kirklees Council’s review following cuts to council budgets, despite it being well used by the local community. Figures provided by Kirklees have indicated that the current Shepley Library staffed costs are around £24,000 a year. Coincidentally the funding for 2011/12 that is allocated to the Kirkburton area through the Area Committee is underspent by a similar amount.
Green Party Councillor Derek Hardcastle said,
“ This funding is not allocated to any projects and I will propose at Area Committee on Wednesday 21st March, (which is the final Area Committee meeting in this financial year) to allocate these unutilised funds, to the libraries budget and to specifically earmarked those funds to retain a fully staffed service at Shepley Library. No changes to the library service are due to occur in 2012/13 so this funding would be allocated for the 2013/14 financial year. This would give us 2 years to plan a secure funded future for the library when the funding outlook may be more optimistic. Our proposal would be at no additional cost to the Council Tax payer and would give us the breathing space we need to produce a plan for a sustainable future for this vital community facility. All Shepley Library needs now is the support of my 2 Kirkburton Ward Councillors (colleagues from the Conservative Party) to agree this proposal at Wednesday’s Joint Area Committee Meeting, and then we can put this proposal forward to the Council.”
Furthermore Green Party Councillors on Kirkburton Parish Council are calling for a dialogue with Kirklees Council to secure existing library services across the Kirkburton Parish. The Parish area has Kirklees Libraries in Shepley, Kirkburton, Kirkheaton and Lepton plus mobile library services covering other villages.
“ We do not want our Library facilities to be picked off one by one. We want a secure future for libraries which are some of Kirklees Councils only contact point in many communities”. said Councillor Robert Barraclough who is a Kirkburton Parish Councillor.
“ If we lose those services we will lose them forever so this is a crucial time to ensure buildings, services and staff are retained. We believe we have a very positive proposal here where Area Committee funding for Shepley Library and a Parish wide approach to address the wider issue is the best way forward.”