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News - 15 January 2004

Dispute heightens over the future of Hove Library

The Green Party has accused Labour of excluding the public from the debate on Hove Library. Bill Randall claims that Labour has excluded the public from a meeting to be held on 20 January to discuss the future of the Library because it is: “driven by a wish to move the library to other premises as part of a hidden agenda,” said Randall.

Randall went on to say that Labour has withheld the details of an audit into the suitability of the building for disabled access. "Now we know why they prefer to hold discussions behind closed doors. They do not want the contents of this report discussed in public at the next meeting. And who can blame them? It demonstrates quite clearly that the needs of disabled people have been ignored at Hove Library.”

Sue John, deputy leader of the Labour party said, “The audit report has been placed in Hove Library so that any member of the public can go along and read the full details. We are not trying to hide anything. On the contrary we are completely open about the fact that the building is unsuitable for disabled people. And even if we carried out the necessary works to the existing building it would never meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.”

“We believe that we could offer the public a much better facility by moving the Library to the Town Hall. This would also mean that on-going maintenance would be greatly reduced and less of a strain on the public purse.”

The Library is a Grade II listed building and is protected against any deformation that might result from its sale. It is also protected by planning permission so is quite likely to be given over to use by a community group.

Sue John believes that Green principles are being upheld by moving the Library and allowing another organisation to look after the old building. “If the Library remains on its current site it would be impossible to abide by our equal opportunities policy and a beautiful listed building would need to be modernised to such an extent that we would begin to lose the character that makes it what it is.”

For an outline of the report on the library click on down load below (MS Word file 28KB)

Click here to download Hove Library Access Audit

Read related items on:
Development sites
Brighton & Hove City Council
Green Party
John, Sue

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