On Monday, Camborne Town Council held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the news that Cornwall Council officers had recommended that all Cornwall’s libraries were to be tendered for a third party to run them.
By the time of our meeting, all had changed. The Communities Committee at Cornwall Council rejected this recommendation and insisted that the council consider the many communities that had expressed an interest in running the libraries themselves.
Good for them – for all the cynics and nay sayers, out there, this is why we need councillors to make decisions.
There were many discussions at the town council, it was a long meeting and two members of the public turned up and sat through it. And a Mr Hart, who came late, shouted at us all, called us a disgrace and then left. His beef is that the building belongs to the people of Camborne. Morally, I think we would all agree. Legally, this is not the case.
The decision of the council is to express an interest in running the library. We will also be surveying the residents of Camborne to find out their views and how much extra they would be willing to pay on their precept and whether they value the building as much as the library. We were all agreed that we must consult widely and only go ahead if the people of Camborne are with it.
We also need some firm answers to a lot of questions from Cornwall Council, so this will not be an easy or quick process.
Is Cornwall Council prepared to offer anything toward the running costs? It would be unfair if Camborne paid entirely for its own library, accessible to anyone in neighbouring parishes but in other towns, the library is still fully funded. In essence, we would be subsidising others.
Would other parishes be prepared to contribute?
Will Cornwall Council transfer the building to Camborne for a nominal sum?
What backlog of maintenance is outstanding on the building?
What exactly are the running costs? There are many vague areas and Cornwall Council’s own figures come with a warning that they are not to be taken seriously. Which is worrying, in my view.
One thing Camborne Town Council has to be clear about is exactly what the price tag will be in Camborne and whether people in our town will pay it.